trustees reflect on 35 years of hospice care

12 June 2018

Two Trustees of Havens Hospices reflect on 35 years of hospice care across Essex.

This summer marks 35 years since Havens Hospices opened Fair Havens Hospice in Westcliff and 20 years since they opened Little Havens Hospice in Thundersley. Over the past 35 years the charity has supported over 25,000 adults, babies, children and young people with life-limiting illnesses, by controlling pain and medication, offering short breaks and caring for them at the end of their lives.  As part of the celebrations Trustee Board Members Reg Ramm and Clive Pegler reflect on their time with the charity.

Reg was at the initial meeting with the three founders that led to Fair Havens Hospice in Westcliff opening its doors on 13th June 1983.

Reg recalls,

When Daphne explained what they wanted to do my ‘accountant hat’ went on and I honestly had strong reservations. I said to them - ‘you’ve got no building, you’ve got no money, you’ve got no staff or equipment; so you’ve got no hope.’  I was prepared to walk away at that point and Daphne took me to one side and said ‘Oh ye of little faith’ and asked me to come to the next meeting. I did and I’m so glad I did because the general feeling from the public made me realise that this was something I wanted to be a part of.

Having seen the response from the public, Reg has since volunteered as a Trustee, Honorary Treasurer and has been involved with the setting up and running of the charity’s trading arm.  One of the things that has always struck Reg as amazing is how generous the public have been with their time, support and fundraising over the years.

Reg recalls,

There are two stand out moments for me. The first is how our local community have always supported us especially when we’ve had a bigger need for funding like when we decided to build Little Havens Hospice or when we had a crisis one year where we were in real financial difficulty. The general public just rallied round in the most amazing way – more so than I thought they ever would; that will always be very stand out for me.

“The other moment that comes to mind is when we had the first shop in Hockley and were negotiating with the buyers and the landlord changed their minds – we had three days to get out of the unit. So we camped out in some porta cabins with all our stock; the local business community came together and offered us a warehouse, goods, services and everything else so we were only closed for three days. To me that was absolutely amazing, that people would do that for us. “

Clive has been a supporter of the charity since the beginning and became a board member in 2006. He said,

I knew Daphne through my wife and had always respected her opinions; so when she came forward with the concept of a hospice – it was her vision that really made me feel that this is something we must support – so I started actively supporting Fair Havens at my church in 1983.  In 2006, having retired from work the previous year, I joined the board.

“It is a wonderful thing to be a part of – Havens Hospices is there for those people who are desperate and help them go through part of their living that is traumatic. It doesn’t really matter what age whether it’s a child or a middle aged or an elderly person, Havens focus on that person’s  quality of life right up to the moment their life ceases at the hospices - Little Havens, Fair Havens and The J’s provides that service with a welcome and a smile. I’m very proud to be a trustee of a charity that is so focused on life and love; it is a privilege to be a part of it.”

In 2017, Havens Hospices joined forces with The J’s Hospice. Reg explains,

One of the things we’ve always been concerned about is something called ‘transition’ – what would happen when children no longer were able to use Little Havens because of their age? We didn’t know what to do to fix that issue and by joining with The J’s we now have a model that we can use across Essex that allows us to meet the needs of all who need us.”

The charity is now looking to the future for Fair Havens with plans to start building a new adult’s hospice in September 2018.  The new Fair Havens Hospice will bring together a range of specialist services to support people in making choices about their care from the day they receive their diagnosis, as they journey with their illness and as the end of their life approaches.

Clive and Reg have supported the charity for 35 years and are both looking forward to seeing the hospice become a reality.

Clive commented

“I live quite close to the new site and every time I go past it I think ‘yes, a few more years and this is going to be established and an even greater number of people are going to be able to benefit from this being built which is wonderful.”

Currently every month Fair Havens turns away 11 people because there is no bed available for them when they need it; with the support and generosity of the local community the new Fair Havens will be able to provide free specialist care for twice as many patients and their families.

Reg surmised,

“It really is going to be marvellous. Looking back to when we first opened Fair Havens we had four beds; so it’s amazing to think today we are planning for 16 beds to serve the community in a much different way.  And it won’t only be more beds, but more services and more activities and we’ll be able to treat more people is something that is an answer to prayer for everyone not just myself.”

For more information about new Fair Havens please click here.

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