Here is the second instalment of the Saint Francis Hospice short stories.
In May 1978, an imposing Victorian mansion that had stood unoccupied for some time caught the eye of one of Saint Francis Hospice’s volunteer fundraisers, Sophie Ransome. Thanks to loans from trustees, a bid for £108,000 was placed and verbally accepted by the Heap family.
The euphoria surrounding the Hospice’s beautiful new home was growing, before a devastating turn of events. It was a challenge that, at first sight, couldn’t be overcome. A consortium wanting to turn the mansion into a country club put in a bid of £200,000.
“We couldn’t have raised our offer any higher,” recalled one of the Hospice’s founders, Joan Matthews. “There was no earthly reason why Mrs Heap should have accepted our substantially lower offer. Amazingly, bless her, she did.”
As spring warmed into the summer of 1978, Saint Francis Hospice had officially acquired The Hall in Havering-atte-Bower.
Thirty-six years on, and Saint Francis Hospice is still to support people in our community — but the charity needs you more than ever before.
Why not play the Hospice’s Lottery? Every week, someone will win £1,000, and the rollover can reach a whopping £25,000.
If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning while doing something incredible for local people living with life-limiting illnesses, please visit http://www.sfh.org.uk/lottery.