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Our heritage

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1979 July

A meeting was held at Colchester Town Hall on 6th July “to consider the setting up of a hospice for the terminally ill to serve the Colchester Health District”. Those present: The Bishop of Colchester, Father Michael Stokes, Dr Peter Kennedy, Dr George Rhys Lewis, Deirdre Allen, Irene Overton, Dr Elizabeth Hall and some 140 members of the public. A steering committee was formed chaired by Dr Elizabeth Hall, and the volunteers of the Colchester Area Hospice Project were ready to take on the work.

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1980 August 

St Helena Hospice was incorporated on 11th August and the steering committee became the council of management.

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1980 May

A £250,000 public appeal was launched on 17th May at an old time music hall at Holmwood House School to establish St Helena Hospice, named after the patron saint of Colchester.

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1981 April

The National Society for Cancer Relief agreed to fund the home care scheme throughout north east Essex “to provide specialised care at home for the terminally ill” run in conjunction with the planned hospice, with the help of Keith Dallison, district nursing officer for the community, who became director of St Helena Hospice a few years later. Two Macmillan nurses, Nuala Peddel and Maureen Percival, were appointed to the home care scheme in July 1981.

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1981 May

St Helena Hospice registered as a charity organisation and launched the appeal logo in July, described as “the cross, emblematic of St Helena who carries it on top of our town hall with the H for Helena and Hospice.

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1981 October

A planning application was submitted on 30th October to change the use of Myland Hall, a 17th century grade II listed building being used by Highwoods developers French Keir, to a hospice.

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1983 December 

Building work began at Myland Hall.

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1983 February

The hospice was given the green light and Myland Hall was acquired.

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1983 November

Anne, Duchess of Norfolk, cut the first sod in a ceremony in the grounds of Myland Hall on 23rd November to begin the building work, paying tribute to “everyone who has worked so hard and contributed so much”.

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1985 April 

The local community was invited to look around the new hospice.

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1985 May

St Helena Hospice welcomed its first patient, 22 year old Lisa Brenchley.

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1986 April

The hospice was officially opened on 11th April by the Queen Mother.

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1987 February

The hospice caused controversy with the announcement that patients with AIDS or HIV would be admitted.

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1987 June

First St Helena Hospice shop opened on 1st June, Head Street, Colchester.

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1988 April 

The Joan Tomkins Centre was officially opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, on 26th April. The day centre was built thanks to a generous donation from local businessman Robin Tomkins in memory of his wife.

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A meeting was held at Colchester Town Hall on 6th July “to consider the setting up of a hospice for the terminally ill to serve the Colchester Health District”. Those present: The Bishop of Colchester, Father Michael Stokes, Dr Peter Kennedy, Dr George Rhys Lewis, Deirdre Allen, Irene Overton, Dr Elizabeth Hall and some 140 members of the public. A steering committee was formed chaired by Dr Elizabeth Hall, and the volunteers of the Colchester Area Hospice Project were ready to take on the work.

Close

St Helena Hospice was incorporated on 11th August and the steering committee became the council of management.

Close

A £250,000 public appeal was launched on 17th May at an old time music hall at Holmwood House School to establish St Helena Hospice, named after the patron saint of Colchester.

Close

The National Society for Cancer Relief agreed to fund the home care scheme throughout north east Essex “to provide specialised care at home for the terminally ill” run in conjunction with the planned hospice, with the help of Keith Dallison, district nursing officer for the community, who became director of St Helena Hospice a few years later. Two Macmillan nurses, Nuala Peddel and Maureen Percival, were appointed to the home care scheme in July 1981.

Close

St Helena Hospice registered as a charity organisation and launched the appeal logo in July, described as “the cross, emblematic of St Helena who carries it on top of our town hall with the H for Helena and Hospice.

Close

A planning application was submitted on 30th October to change the use of Myland Hall, a 17th century grade II listed building being used by Highwoods developers French Keir, to a hospice.

Close

Building work began at Myland Hall.

Close

The hospice was given the green light and Myland Hall was acquired.

Close

Anne, Duchess of Norfolk, cut the first sod in a ceremony in the grounds of Myland Hall on 23rd November to begin the building work, paying tribute to “everyone who has worked so hard and contributed so much”.

Close

The local community was invited to look around the new hospice.

Close

St Helena Hospice welcomed its first patient, 22 year old Lisa Brenchley.

Close

The hospice was officially opened on 11th April by the Queen Mother.

Close

The hospice caused controversy with the announcement that patients with AIDS or HIV would be admitted.

Close

First St Helena Hospice shop opened on 1st June, Head Street, Colchester.

Close

The Joan Tomkins Centre was officially opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, on 26th April. The day centre was built thanks to a generous donation from local businessman Robin Tomkins in memory of his wife.

Close

We’ve been recording the memories of some of the people who were at the beginning of St Helena Hospice’s journey.

The project is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.

Heritage stories

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