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Maureen Telford's Memories

Maureen Telford's Memories

Memories from Maureen Telford captured in 2007.

Maureen worked as Secretary to Peter Whitley, Chief Executive of Carrs of Carlisle. In the mid-eighties Gill Melrose came up with idea for hospice to be built in Carlisle and she had raised about £2,000 from various fundraising events.

Tom Crellin and Peter Whitley were both heavily involved with Rotary and they were asked to look into the possibility of funding being available. Peter asked Maureen to write out to various organisations such as churches, shops and factories.

The committee arranged for a public meeting, where by interested parties could question the committee members about their plans. The meeting was held at the Swallow Hilltop, who did not charge for the facilities.

A fundraising committee was formed and it was decided to have an official launch.

The date of the launch was the 1st April 1987, again it was held at The Swallow Hilltop Hotel and Martyn Lewis (Newsreader) agreed to be the guest of honour. Maureen spent a lot of time writing to various companies for items to be donated to raise funds. People were very generous and the GPO even donated some 1st day issue stamps.

Martyn was due to read the news that night at 10pm. Sir Hector Laing gave the loan of his private plane to fly Martyn to Carlisle and back. It had to be ensured that Martyn left the Hilltop before it got dark – because Carlisle airport shut down when it got dark.

Martyn Lewis was a very inspirational speaker and talked about his father in law who had spent time in a hospice.
David King (auctioneer) donated his time to act as auctioneer on the night of the launch and many thousands of pounds were raised. It was a very exiting time with everyone working really hard.

Margaret Whitley had the idea of opening a charity shop. Premises were found in the Kennedy Centre, just off Lonsdale Street, Carlisle and the shop opened in September 1987. Outside was a thermometer showing how much had been raised, with the final target being £1 million.

A Charity number was obtained and collection cans were obtained and distributed.

Maureen’s over riding memory of the time was when a call came through from Laings the builders, she put the call through to Peter Whitely and shortly afterwards Peter came into her office with tears in his eyes, Laings had donated the land. It was going to be at the old brickworks. It really was going to happen, wonderful.