Rowcroft appeals for help to celebrate 40th birthday

Torbay Weekly

Rowcroft Hospice is approaching its 40th anniversary year - and it is appealing for help to mark the milestone.

The charity wants to capture the wonderful stories that the hospice inspires across its community as well as sourcing any photos, artefacts, memorabilia or information relating to its history.

All this will be used to create a public exhibition to showcase the stories and history of the hospice.

Richard Ward, a retired GP and previous trustee of Rowcroft who is coordinating the exhibition, said: "We’re thrilled to be celebrating the hospice’s 40th anniversary next May.

"Rowcroft has played such an important part in the lives of so many families in Torbay over the past four decades and we have so much shared history with our community. We’d love to hear from you if you have any stories (from hospice care to fundraising and volunteering) or if you have any historic artefacts or memorabilia that can help bring our exhibition to life. We’re particularly interested in visual objects such as old nurse uniforms, equipment, paintings or photographs.

“The exhibition will provide a unique insight into the history of two of Torquay’s most notable buildings – the hospice itself and Rainbow House. It will feature the life and work of Ella Rowcroft, whose generosity and compassion were the sparks that created the Rowcroft that we know and love today, and it will illustrate how the Torquay Lions Club were intrinsic to the success of the hospice. And we hope to highlight some of the key events that took place at the hospice, including weddings, fetes and other special gatherings."

He added: "I remember the hospice being set up in 1982 while I was working as a GP in Newton Abbot. The establishment of the hospice was such a brilliant idea. From its initial inception in 1982, I’ve been a keen supporter of Rowcroft for its 40-year lifespan, and I was on Rowcroft’s Board of Trustees for nine years until I retired last November. It’s fabulous to see how the charity has blossomed into the amazingly successful organisation that it is today.”

Rowcroft’s CEO Mark Hawkins said: "We want to celebrate all that we have achieved in caring for our community since the first patients were admitted to the hospice.

"Ella Rowcroft may have been the spark that helped to create Rowcroft, but it is the unending compassion, strength, generosity and support of local people that have kept us going. As a local charity, we are indebted to our community. Our anniversary next May will be a special time to appreciate and thank everyone in our community, including all our staff and volunteers (current and past)."

If you have any artefacts or memorabilia that you’d like to share with Rowcroft for the historic exhibition, then please contact Richard Ward via email at