ONE of the four founding members of St Leonard’s Hospice in York has died at the age of 89.

Margaret Ackroyd, along with fellow nurses Elizabeth Jewitt, Pat Grigsby and Mae Graham, was behind the public meeting in 1978 from which the committee of St Leonard’s would be born and which saw the launch of the huge fundraising campaign to build the hospice.

Mrs Ackroyd died peacefully on December 11, in Dunblane in Scotland, to where she moved from her native North Yorkshire several years ago.

Yesterday, Janet Morley, head of fundraising at St Leonard’s, paid tribute to her former colleague.

She said: “I knew Margaret from working at the hospice in its early days.

“She was a founder nurse and pioneer at the hospice. She was tireless in her fundraising during the early days and when the hospice opened she would always support us even when she moved away, first to Skipton and then to Scotland.

“We were very grateful for her vision and continuous support.”

The public meeting at which St Leonard’s was conceived took place in Tempest Anderson Hall in Museum Gardens, 34 years ago.

At that meeting a steering committee was formed, under the chairmanship of Trevor Copley. It was then that the huge fundraising operation swung into action with the goal reaching the £750,000 needed not only to design and build the hospice on its Tadcaster Road site, but also to keep it running for the first year.”

The first patients were admitted in 1985.

Her funeral will take place on Friday, December 28 at St Mary’s Episcopal Church in Dunblane.