Cornwall’s first hospice celebrates its 35th anniversary with memories of its founder

Cornish charity Cornwall Hospice Care is about to celebrate the 35th anniversary of one of its hospices. In the lead up to what will be a year of celebrations, the event is being launched with a short film that reflects on the woman whose dream it was to build the first hospice in Cornwall. Memories of the late Enid Dalton-White are brought to life by charity Trustee Margaret Geake, who along with her husband Tony gave the land on which Mount Edgcumbe Hospice in St Austell is built.

Mount Edgcumbe Hospice is the legacy of a remarkable woman, Mrs Enid Dalton-White MBE who led the campaign to raise the funds needed to build the hospice. Her determined fundraising campaign started when she opened her gardens in the village of Polruan, to the public. With enormous commitment and dedication she worked tirelessly to find the money needed and was finally rewarded on 6 October 1980, when the hospice opened its doors to patients.

Margaret Geake, who has been involved as a Trustee and fundraiser over the last 35 years, says Mrs Dalton-White was an inspiration and her heroine;

“She was an absolutely amazing lady. She inspired so many people and was very dedicated to her cause. When some people said it would never happen, she proved them wrong, successfully raising the funds for Mount Edgcumbe Hospice. In fact it all really started to happen once we had met because at that point we provided the land and she took the vision of a hospice forward.  She’d be very proud to see it still here and serving Cornwall 35 years later.”

Paul Brinsley is the Chief Executive of Cornwall Hospice Care;

“It’s extraordinary to think that until 1980 Cornwall didn’t have a hospice at all and we must never forget the vision and determination of Mrs Dalton-White who made it all happen. It’s up to us all to keep her dream alive and we hope her inspiration will help us at a time when our charity is struggling financially and needs more support than ever before.  We must use the 35th anniversary year to work hard to raise the funds needed to continue providing specialist care for our patients and their families, care that means so much to those whose lives we touch.”

The 35th anniversary will be marked with a travelling exhibition that tells the story of Enid’s dream and of what has happened over the intervening years. 

This isn’t the only key anniversary for the charity. April next year will mark 10 years of Cornwall Hospice Care, the charity that brought together Cornwall’s two adult hospices at Mount Edgcumbe in St Austell and St Julia’s in Hayle.