The early days of St Leonard’s

Published in Letters by

ON READING about the sad death of Margaret Ackroyd (The Press, December 19), I was reminded of the birth of St Leonard’s Hospice.

I, along with Pat Grigsby, approached the three York nurses who were already fundraising for the idea of a hospice. At one of our meetings, it was decided to hold an open meeting to help gather support and to explain what a hospice was and its aims.

I wrote to Jimmy Savile (a person in the forefront of fundraising), but unfortunately (or fortunately) he was too busy and wished us well.

We then were able to get Jack Wood to chair the meeting at the Tempest Anderson Hall and were delighted with the reaction and among other names, we found ourselves with a bank manager, solicitor and an architect offering help.

We then were able to form our steering committee and Peter Marshall, our architect, designed the first St Leonard’s building.

The committee also had a day in London picking the brains of Dame Cicely Saunders to help the plans – and five years later, St Leonard’s opened.

Incidentally, it was one of the three nurses, Elizabeth Jewitt, who suggested the name St Leonard’s.

C Brian Wainwright, Hall Rise, Haxby.

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