St Clare Hospice celebrates 20 years in style

IT WAS party time at St Clare Hospice on Monday as around 100 guests turned out to celebrate the 20th anniversary of being registered with the Charity Commission.

IT WAS party time at St Clare Hospice on Monday as around 100 guests turned out to celebrate the 20th anniversary of being registered with the Charity Commission.

To mark the significant milestone, supporters old and new were invited to join hospice staff and volunteers, as well as patients and their families, for a party at the hospice grounds, in Hastingwood.

Guests were treated to cream teas before witnessing the highlight of the afternoon when hundreds of sponsored balloons were released into the sky by two of the first trustees of the charity, Letitia Berry and John Carr.

As well as celebrating past achievements, board of trustees chairman, Michael Chapman, spoke about the hospice team's vision for the future and the commitment to continue to provide an outstanding service to those people in need of hospice care now and into the next decade.

June Coyne, a long standing volunteer of 17 years who attended the party, said: "This is a really lovely way to mark this special day. On a personal level, volunteering for St Clare has helped me through some difficult times and I have made so many dear friends over the years.

"It's great to have been part of today's celebration of 20 years of care."

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Staff and volunteers officially launched the year-long anniversary celebrations in the town centre in January, with the aim of raising awareness of the hospice services and to help raise the much-needed funds to provide them.

It currently costs more than �2.6million a year to provide hospice care in this area, with only 24 per cent of this coming from government funds.

For more information about the hospice and fund-raising activities planned for the year, visit

A history of the hospice

BACK in 1987, Jo Brennan, a member of the local health authority, joined with councillors, healthcare professionals and business owners to investigate the need for a specialist care service for those with terminal illness in the area.

A hospice service was established, and a team of trustees appointed. The service needed �100 to register its name and charity status. One of the trustees, John Carr, had already raised this amount by placing a pint glass in a local pub!

And so, on April 12, 1990 the trust deed was registered with the Charity Commission and St Clare Hospice was born.

In 1991 day hospice services opened across the area, providing weekly sessions of physical, social, emotional and spiritual care, and in 1993, the trustees bought Stone Barton, a farmhouse in Hastingwood, just outside Harlow.

Day hospice was centralised at Stone Barton and more and more services were launched.

From 1995 to 1999 the hospice campaigned for a purpose built in-patient unit and in 2000 the eight-bed unit opened.

The hospice now wants to expand its services further and begin 'hospice at home' services for local people.

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