Forty years of Rowcroft Hospice

With the year 2022 marking the 40th anniversary of Rowcroft Hospice, we’re celebrating the specialist care that we have provided to the South Devon community over four decades. From small beginnings in 1982, the hospice has blossomed into an esteemed and well-respected organisation, now caring for more than 2000 people with life-limiting illnesses across South Devon each year.

“Our anniversary year is a special time to appreciate and thank everyone in our community including all our past and current supporters, staff and volunteers, and to celebrate all the remarkable things that we’ve achieved together,” said Rowcroft Hospice CEO Mark Hawkins. “Our 40-year track record of providing outstanding care to tens of thousands of people has only been possible because of the incredible support of our local community.

“We look back in awe at how far we’ve come as a hospice, and we look to the future with renewed determination, hope and passion to expand and enhance our care to continue to meet the diverse needs of our community for years to come.”

View Rowcroft’s timeline

Celebrate with us

Rowcroft aims to mark our momentous birthday through a programme of celebratory events and fundraising activities taking place throughout the year including:

  • 40 Years of Care Exhibition to celebrate the lives of all the people who have been cared for by the hospice over the last four decades. Taking place in early May, this event will be centred around a photo exhibition with contributions from families who have been supported by the hospice
  • 40@40 Corporate Supporters Club in which 40 local businesses each raise or pledge £1,000 to reach a grand total of £40,000
  • Open Gardens events – taking place in spring and summer in the beautiful grounds of the hospice
  • Lottery superdraw in early May
  • Celebratory events taking place throughout May including: a photo exhibition on Rowcroft’s history; celebratory events for supporters, and for volunteers and staff – past and present; and a corporate networking event
  • Christmas Ball

Four decades of caring for the community

Rowcroft’s success in caring for our community is borne out of the hard work, compassion and devotion of our wonderful teams of past and present staff and volunteers – to whom we are so very grateful.

Director of Care and Strategy Gill Horne outlines some of Rowcroft’s significant successes since the birth of the hospice in 1982:

“Our achievements over four decades include: providing expert care to thousands of patients in our Inpatient Unit; setting up and delivering our revered Hospice at Home service that each year provides specialist care to around 500 people in their last two weeks of life at home; the development of our exceptional community services that include specialist nursing, complementary therapy, music therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, bereavement support and spiritual care; and the launch of our award-winning education programme that offers online and face-to-face specialist training to health and social care professionals across South Devon and beyond. “

A tribute to the hospice’s thousands of volunteers

Over the past 40 years, Rowcroft’s care has only been possible thanks to the incredible hard work, support and commitment of thousands of volunteers, who have generously given their time and expertise in wide-ranging roles across the hospice – such as volunteering in Rowcroft’s 15 shops and cafes, supporting patients in the Inpatient Unit and in the community, helping out at Rowcroft’s fundraising events and activities, tending to the hospice gardens and volunteering in the hospice’s offices.

Since first stepping into the hospice in 1981, our wonderful hospitality volunteer Judith Jones has scrubbed, washed, starched, ironed, made thousands upon thousands of cups of tea and coffee, and generally worked her socks off during her four decades with Rowcroft Hospice!

“I still really enjoy the volunteering here, as I did when I started all those years ago, and I’ve made so many fantastic friends along the way,” said Judith.

Fabulous fundraisers

As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, we look back with gratitude at all the fantastic fundraisers whose remarkable efforts and phenomenal achievements have ensured the development and success of the hospice.

In particular, the Torquay Lions Club was instrumental in establishing the hospice when Richard Brinsley became chairman and took it upon himself to set up the hospice during his year in office.

When the hospice first opened its doors to patients, there was only enough money in the pot for the hospice to stay open for three months. But thanks to the sheer perseverance and determination of so many people in raising funds, the hospice was able not just to stay open, but also to develop the wonderful services that we are so proud of today. It was in no small way that the Friends of Rowcroft helped to achieve this. Bridget Tretheway (now Day) pictured here was the first Chair of the Friends of Rowcroft, and thanks to her incredible hard work, the hospice was able to keep going through those early precarious years.

Today, Rowcroft is supported by countless groups, businesses, organisations and individuals across South Devon. We’re so very grateful to them all, and we know that without their amazing support our work simply wouldn’t be possible.

Raise a glass to 40 years!

To celebrate our 40th anniversary year, Rowcroft is collaborating with Torquay-based company Sea Arch Drinks to offer a non-alcoholic spirit that’s perfect for gin lovers!

Inspired by the local coastline, the spirit has been carefully crafted using traditional distillation techniques, and is bursting with flavour from a blend of 12 complex natural botanicals with the alcohol gently removed to create a pick-me-up that is both refreshing and sophisticated.  The spirit is now available to purchase in Rowcroft’s charity shops across the region with all profits going to care for patients with life-limiting illnesses.

“Purchasing a bottle is a great way to support the hospice,” says Rowcroft’s Head of Retail Caroline Wannell. “We hope everyone will join us by raising a glass to our 40 years of caring for our community and toasting a bright future ahead!”

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