The Midlands’ oldest hospice celebrates 40 years of care with a glittering gala dinner
This March, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice will be celebrating 40 years of care across Birmingham and Sandwell – and to mark the occasion, the Hospice is inviting local people to a very special gala dinner.
On Friday 1 March, the well-known and much loved charity will be hosting a black tie event at Edgbaston Stadium, which will include a drinks reception, three-course dinner, musical entertainment and live comedy from the self-proclaimed ‘most popular housewife in Kings Heath’ Barbara Nice.
Barbara (mother-of-five, keen ‘Take a Break’ reader and stage-dive enthusiast) is a character created by comedian Janice Connolly and will be entertaining guests at the prestigious event. She will be joined by Antique Roadshow’s Will Farmer, who will be hosting a live auction, and former Baggies legend Brendon Batson, who is a patron of the charity.
The event kick starts the Hospice’s 40th anniversary celebrations and will honour the care and support it has provided across the city and beyond for the last four decades.
Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice was founded in 1979 by Monica Pearce and was the first independent hospice in the Midlands. A former NHS matron, Monica’s vision was to ‘enable anyone with a life-limiting illness to live their life to the full’ – a mission that the Hospice’s staff and volunteers still stand by today.
Doctors and nurses at the Hospice – which was first known as ‘St. Mary’s Hospice’ – cared for its first patient on Monday 5 March 1979.
Tina Swani, chief executive at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, said: “Monica Pearce was a remarkable woman who worked tirelessly to provide vital end of life care to local people. She pioneered hospice care in the Midlands, after recognising that much more needed to be done to support people who are living with an incurable illness.
“The 40th Anniversary Gala Dinner is our way of honouring Monica’s legacy, as well as highlighting how crucial hospice care still is in our city today. It’s set to be a fantastic evening and I look forward to welcoming Barbara Nice, Will Farmer and our wonderful supporters to a night of dinner and celebration.”
In 1979, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice provided care at its ward only and had a maximum bed capacity of 25. Four decades later and the Hospice is supporting over 400 people every day across Birmingham and Sandwell, providing care in people’s homes, in the community, at its Day Hospice facility and at the Hospice’s Inpatient Unit.