Where there’s a will, there’s a hooray

New Hospice of St Francis logo.
New Hospice of St Francis logo.

Two extra beds will be opened at a hospice used by hundreds of people each year after more than £1million was left to it in three wills.

The bequests represent the largest lump sum left to Northchurch-based The Hospice of St Francis since 2003, when £500,000 was left to it in a single will.

That money was used to buy the land where it is now based off Shootersway in Northchurch.

The new cash will help it reach its full capacity of beds on the specially-built site.

Chief executive Ros Taylor said: “We finally have enough money to staff the beds and honour our promise to the community.

“We are so thrilled and excited by this opportunity made possible by our amazing supporters.”

There will be more doctors, nurses, physiotherapy and social workers to care for about 60 extra patients a year staying in the new beds.

The cost of the new staff will total £174,000 per annum and running costs will increase to £3m a year.

The hospice’s walk-in centre, which was forced to close two years ago due to mounting costs, will also reopen thanks to the donations.

The wills windfall is four times what it would receive in legacies in an average year.

The hospice moved to its current base in 2007, with the aim of having 14 beds there. It had previously operated just eight at a smaller location in Shrublands Road, Berkhamsted.

The two new beds due to open on April 1 will take it to its target figure of 14. Dr Taylor said: “It’s been slower than I would have liked but now we are there.”

The hospice’s current 12 beds cater for 300 live-in patients a year – and cost £2.7m a year to run.

Just 20 per cent, or £900,000, of that money comes from the NHS, and the rest comes to the hospice in donations from the public.

To donate or learn more about the hospice, visit www.stfrancis.org.uk