HER last gift has helped Dorothy’s Dream finally come true.
When Joan Blackmore died, she left £200,000 – a legacy which has now gone to The Rowans Hospice in Purbrook to help fund its hospice at home service.
The donation means the Dorothy’s Dream campaign – named after the famous line ‘There’s no place like home’ in The Wizard of Oz – has now hit its £1m target.
The service gives people with life-threatening illnesses the option to spend their last days at home, surrounded by friends and family.
Last November the hospice’s board of trustees took the decision to continue the service despite the appeal being short of its target by around £180,000.
After reading the story in The News, the executors of 83-year-old Joan’s estate decided to donate £200,000 to the appeal.
Ruth White, chief executive of the hospice, said: ‘This is an incredible gift and completes the £1m Dorothy’s Dream appeal.
‘It is really overwhelming and very humbling that the executors of this will chose to support the appeal with such a generous gift.
‘The service has been very well-received by the community and we are extremely grateful for their support.
‘Also I would like to thank The News for acting as our media partner and backing the appeal, which has resulted in incredibly generous donations from the public.’
Joan lived the first part of her life in Lichfield Road, Copnor.
She worked for the Post Office and then as a civil servant at Telephone House, Elm Grove, Southsea, before retiring at the age of 55.
After suffering a stroke in 2011, Joan died in the Carleen nursing home, in Portchester Road, Fareham, in June last year. Her funeral took place at Portchester Crematorium.
The Dorothy’s Dream appeal launched on the front page of The News in September 2010. So far the hospice at home scheme has supported more than 400 families.
Matron Erika Lipscombe said: ‘This funding is vital for the continuation of the service which has helped 435 families so far.
‘The team is incredibly grateful for this extraordinary gift which will make a huge difference to so many families in Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire.
‘We will continue to work with community services to ensure people have choice in their preferred place of death.
‘Almost half of the patients referred to service were previously unknown to the hospice, which means there has been an increase in access to hospice care in our area.
‘Additionally, with the introduction of crisis management support, the service has helped to prevent unnecessary and unwanted hospital admissions and facilitated hospital discharges.’
Joan’s is the second large donation to go to the hospice recently. Last week The News reported that former nurse Audrey Smith left £346,000 to the general running of The Rowans.
The hospice needs to raise an additional £500,000 per year in order to keep the hospice at home service going.
To celebrate hitting the target, a musical treat is to be held.
The Voices Concert takes place on Friday, March 8 at Barton Hall, Horndean, from 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10. For more information call the fundraising team on (023) 9223 7142, or visit rowanshospice.co.uk.