Author Archives: peacehospicecare

starlight walk

The Starlight Walk

Peace Hospice Care  Starlight Walk 2015

Peace Hospice Care Starlight Walk 2015

This year will see the 10th and final Starlight Walk take place on Saturday 9th July. During the last ten years, the Stalight Walk has raised over £1.4 million for Peace Hospice Care and 2016 looks set to be an extraordinary event.

The original idea of a Starlight Walk arose from a regional fundraising meeting. Three nurses from St Luke’s Hospice at Winsford in Cheshire had been unable to enter a moonlight walk run by a Breast Cancer charity, so decided to organise one for their Hospice. The fundraising team expected about a dozen people to take part, but 500 walked, raising more money than anyone had imagined. Inspired by their success, the Peace Hospice emulated their example, raising £125,000 in the first year.

Find out how you too can take part and help raise money here: http://www.peacehospice.co.uk/viewevent.asp?eventID=690

Peace Memorial Hospital

Built with Love: selling bricks helped raise money to build Peace Hospice

Peace Hospice Care is part of the original Peace Memorial Hospital which was built in 1925 as a memorial to those killed in the First World War. The local community originally raised money for the hospital by buying bricks for 6d each. In the 1930s, when the Peace Memorial Hospital was raising money to build an extra wing.   For the price of a few old pence, the Hospital sold pencil  rubbers one and a half inches long resembling a brick.   The campaign was promoted under the slogan “Buy a Brick and be a Brick”.

 

The derelict building

The derelict building

The hospital closed in 1985 and the building sadly fell into dereliction. In 1991, the community once again gathered together to save the historic building and the South West Herts Hospice appeal was launched.

Echoing our historic beginnings, in September 1994, a fundraising appeal was launched to raise £450,000 for a new inpatient unit.   For a minimum £5 donation, supporters were given a small red enamel badge in the shape of a brick.   The bricks were available in the Hospice’s fundraising shops, and were also sold through Watford Football Club.   The Watford Observer supported the campaign.

Building work began

Building work began in 1995 and the new facility was officially opened by HRH Princess Michael of Kent the following year.

HRH Princess Michael with Gill Hollander

HRH Princess Michael with Gill Hollander

In an interview for our history archive, Lucy Barber, who worked with Peace Hospice Care between 1992 – 2014 as first a Charity Shop Manager, Voluntary Services Organiser and then Receptionist, reflected on the feeling that the Hospice belongs to the local community,

 “Every family in Watford had given a brick … to build that place [Peace Memorial Hospital and later, Peace Hospice], so they thought it was their own… As a building it used to hug you … it was built with love”. Lucy Barber

 

 

 

Find out more about Peace Hospice Care’s history by exploring our archive online or visiting our forthcoming exhibition: “Built With Love: 25 Years of Peace Hospice Care”, 29 September – 29 October 2016, Watford Museum.

Roy Castle

Our history – an overview

25th ANNIVERSARY OF PEACE HOSPICE CARE – A brief history

This year Peace Hospice Care, based in Watford, celebrates its 25th anniversary. The Hospice, cares for people living with a life limiting illness and their families from across Hertfordshire, has become a familiar and much-loved part of the local scene.   The Hospice costs £5 million a year to run and receives less than 25% of this amount from statutory funding.   This means over £4 million has to be raised from charitable donations, putting the Hospice at the heart of the community.

The story of the Peace Hospice began in 1925.   That year the Peace Memorial Hospital, built by public subscription as a memorial to those killed in the First World War, was opened by Princess Mary, the Princess Royal, at a cost of £90,000.   The new Hospital occupied a prominent position alongside the Town Hall and was further enhanced in 1928 when a War Memorial designed by local resident Mary Bromet and featuring three bronze statutes was erected in front of the façade.

The Hospital was extended in 1937, but by the 1970s its days were numbered.   The Bromet memorial was moved to a new site alongside the Town Hall to accommodate   road widening, and the Hospital services were gradually relocated to the new Watford General Hospital being built on the Shrodells site.   In 1985, the Peace Memorial Hospital was closed.   The Health Authority announced plans to use the Hospital for geriatric patients and most of the outer buildings were demolished.   But by 1988 the Hospital had been seriously vandalised and was falling into disrepair, with no further news about its long-term future.   As a final indignity, the historic and much-loved clock was stolen from the facade.

Amid public outcry about the dismal state of the Hospital, the South West Herts Hospice appeal was launched in 1991 from an office above the Watford Hospice Shop in the Lower High Street, with enthusiastic backing from the Watford Observer, and in 1992 the Health Authority agreed to a Hospice on the Peace Memorial site.   The fund raising events ranged from Gala Concerts and sponsored slimathons to darts marathons and pocket money donations.   By 1993 the Hospice appeal had raised enough money to start a temporary Day Care centre in a portacabin alongside the Hospital.   It was opened by entertainer and Hospice campaigner Roy Castle.

The next target was to transfer the Day Care centre and office facilities into the old Hospital.   Building work began in 1995, and the new facility was officially opened by HRH Princess Michael of Kent the following year.   The Princess returned five years later to open a new Inpatient unit, which currently cares for about 250 patients a year.

As well as Inpatient care and Day Care, the Hospice has built up a range of ancillary services, including an outpatient service and bereavement support.   Since 2005 the Hospice has also provided a Hospice at Home service, enabling patients and their families to receive treatment and support at home.

In 2006 the players and staff of Watford FC, led by manager Aidy Boothroyd, helped to raise awareness as well as valuable funds by taking part in the first Hospice Firewalk.   That year the Raz Gold Foundation, founded in memory of patient Raz Gold, raised over £100,000 for the Hospice.   Trust donations and legacies continue to be a major source of income.

HRH Princess Michael of Kent made a welcome return in 2014 to open the Starlight Centre, which occupied the previously unused first floor of the Inpatient Unit building.   This offers wellbeing, therapy and other support services, all delivered in a friendly and sociable setting.

The modern Peace Hospice is run by a team of dedicated clinical, fund-raising and administrative staff.   They are supported by an army of over 600 volunteers who work in the Hospice itself and at the 14 Hospice shops, and countless local supporters who organise their own fund-raising events.   Hospice and community come together on various special occasions, notably the annual Lights of Love ceremonies first held in 1996 and the yearly Starlight Walk for women, first held in 2007, which has so far raised a total of £1.4 million for the Hospice.   The tenth and final Starlight Walk will be an integral part of the anniversary celebrations in 2016.

Merry Christmas from the Reminiscence Team Peace Hospice Care

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Peace Memorial Hospital nurses making Christmas more festive for patients who had to be in hospital during the holiday, c1956/57. Photo from Glenys Hamilton. Glenys is in the middle of the student nurses sitting at the front.

Thank you everyone for contributing to our Oral History Project in 2015 and I’d like to wish you a prosperous New Year – and invite you to join in with celebrating 2016 our 25th Anniversary Year.

Heritage Open Day – Many Thanks

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CELEBRATING PEACE – Heritage Open Day Event with a presentation by John Arcus and tour of the building. 1.30-4.00pm, Thursday 10 September, 2015, Starlight Meeting Room, The Peace Hospice, Watford, WD17 3PH.

Thank you for all the help on heritage open day. People attended from the community, Watford Museum, Hospice volunteers, Oral History interviewer and staff. The presentation covered Peace Memorial Hospital and Peace Hopsice history; with a  tour of the Hopsice and talk by Liz Kennedy. There were lots of questions about IPU and our guests shared memories of the Hospital and challenges facing the Hopsice Appeal in thde 1990s. Thank you to Deborah, Pauline and Jeannette for helping set-up.

John Arcus jarcus@peacehospicecare.org.uk 01923330330 07718570110 www.peacehospicecare.org.uk Parking information

Oral History Project Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

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CELEBRATING HOSPICE CARERS – Presentation of Peace Hospice Care Oral History Project by John Arcus for Carers Week

Men's WardCELEBRATING CARERS – Presentation of Peace Hospice Care Oral History Project by John Arcus for Hospice Carers Week. 2.30-4.00pm, Wednesday 7 October, 2015, Starlight Meeting Room, The Peace Hospice, Watford.

Our project is recording the experiences and memories of staff, volunteers, supporters and patients of Peace Memorial Hospital and Peace Hospice Care. You are welcome to come and share in our history –  and to celebrate some of the lives and memories spanning 90 years caring for people in South West Hertfordshire. Presentation includes historic images and audio recordings. Open to the public – free entry. Limited spaces – please book. RSVP to John: jarcus@peacehospicecare.org.uk 01923330330 07718570110 www.peacehospicecare.org.uk Parking information

Oral History Project Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

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CELEBRATING PEACE – Heritage Open Day at The Peace Hospice, Watford.

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CELEBRATING PEACE – Heritage Open Day Event with a presentation by John Arcus and tour of the building. 1.30-4.00pm, Thursday 10 September, 2015, Starlight Meeting Room, The Peace Hospice, Watford, WD17 3PH.

Presentation on the history of Peace Memorial Hospital and Peace Hospice – serving the community for 90 years. Includes images and oral histories; with opportunities to share your memories and a tour of the building.. Peace Memorial hospital was built by public subscription to mark the First World War and opened by HRH Princess Mary in 1925. It became a Peace Hospice in the early 1990s after a South West Herts Hospice appeal and enthusiastic backing from the Watford Observer. Open to the public – free entry. Limited spaces – please book. RSVP to John: jarcus@peacehospicecare.org.uk 01923330330 07718570110 www.peacehospicecare.org.uk Parking information

Oral History Project Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

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Birthday Celebration – Sharing Memories

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Nurses who trained at Peace Memorial Hospital during WW2 recall some of their colleagues.

Sharing Memories of PEACE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL 24 July 2015 Starlight Meeting Room. Ten people attended Sharing Memories and we celebrated Dorothy’s birthday for the 25th. She was born on the same day as the foundation stone was officially laid in 1923 and went on to train and work here. Rose made a wonderful birthday cake. David Wellings who has done a lot of research into Peace Memorial Hospital History and was involved in the Hospice Appeal also attended.

Heritage Presentation at the Starlight Centre, Peace Hospice Care, by Gemma Meek from Watford Museum

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Gemma Meek with a slide of Benskin’s Watford Brewery

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The Friendship Group meet fortnightly at The Starlight Centre, Peace Hospice Care.

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Janet Miller and Ian Jarvis rediscovering a 1950s publication.

Gemma Meek, Educator from Watford Museum gave an enetertaining presentation today to the Friendship Group at the Starlight Centre, Peace Hospice Care, on the early history of Watford. It brought back many memories for people who grew-up here and gave the rest of us a good understanding of the growth of Watford from a small village on the stage coach route to London, to a bustling market town. She also showed us a collection museum items that reminded us of the 1950s.

Audio Editing Volunteers for Oral History Project

Peace Hospice Care is undertaking an oral history project on the history of Peace Memorial Hospital, the development of Peace Hospice and also developing a team to work with people’s life histories. If you would like to learn how to edit digital audio or already have some experience and would like to volunteer on the project please contact John Arcus jarcus@peacehospicecare.org.uk 01923330330 07718570110

Volunteer with our Reminiscence Team

Oral History Project Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

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