About WEHA

The West Essex Hospice Movement & Essex Freemasonry

The West Essex Hospices Appeal was formed on the 23rd May 1989 by four enthusiastic Freemasons, their vision was to offer continued and lasting support to the then, fledgling hospice movement in West Essex as well as ensuring Essex Freemasonry proactively engaged with the local community. The fundamental function of the Founders and subsequent Trustees over the last 25 years has been to encourage the support of Essex Freemasons to raise funds for the provision of comforts to patients in hospices serving West Essex.

The West Essex Hospice Appeal donations enable the hospice Family Support Service Departments to assist in alleviating hardship experienced by the families of those suffering from life limiting illnesses at their time of need in a very practical and immediate way.


A brief timeline of the West Essex hospice movement and the West Essex Hospice Appeal is below.

1984 – Saint Francis Hospice, Havering-Atte-Bower

The story of Saint Francis Hospice began nine years before it opened its doors to the public on a Monday evening in early July 1975… and was fulfilled on the Monday morning of 23rd July 1984, when the doors at the end of the corridor leading from the ambulance bay to the wards opened to receive Saint Francis Hospice’s first patient, Mr George Smith from Writtle, they now provide end of life care and support to more than 3,000 people each year.




1987 – The Margaret Centre, Whipps Cross University Hospital

In 1987 a very special facility was opened at Whipps Cross close to the James Lane entrance. The Margaret Centre was conceived as a unit to provide palliative care for local people with a life-limiting illness such as cancer or motor neuron disease. Just as importantly it was designed to support, not only patients, but also families and carers, both within the hospital and in the community. It was an innovative idea that has embedded itself in the local and medical communities.




1989 – The West Essex Hospices Appeal founded

1990 – St Clare Hospice

Initial conversations took place in 1987, where it was decided that a group should be established to investigate the provision of palliative care within West Essex. In 1989 after an extensive period of research a public meeting was held and the findings showed a clear need for specialist care for those with terminal illness in the West Essex community.

It was proposed and agreed that a Hospice Service should be established and the St Clare Hospice Trust was born, that evening the first donation was presented, a cheque for £5,000 from Essex Radio. St Clare Hospice has provided care to thousands of people since that time.




2003 – Haven House Children’s Hospice

Haven House Foundation was set up in 1995 to develop a centre of excellence to meet the needs of families of children with life-limiting conditions. It was recognised that these families faced huge emotional and physical demands with little support. The Haven House Children’s Hospice founders planned that the centre would provide short breaks for children, in this way giving their carers a much-needed break, and would also provide end of life care at the appropriate time.

In 2001 Haven House opened its first service, Toy Home Loan, providing specialist toys and equipment to families with life-limited children in their own homes. The first four bedrooms and living areas were completed by August 2003 and Haven House was then able to take its first child into the hospice. Since opening Haven House Children’s Hospice has cared for almost 400 children and families.