Category Archives: Local news

Hospice retail managers take a walk on the wild side

Three hospice retail managers took window dressing to another level and raised almost £500!

Jenny Riding, 27, Annie McMurtary, 32, and Julia Bishop, 30, were among a group of women who had their bodies painted head to toe in animal print as they stood in the window of The Retailery in Market Place, Romford on Saturday (June 23).

“I decided to join 6 other brave ladies to do this confidence boosting event for the second year running,” said Jenny, who is the Retail Manager at the charity’s Upminster retail store, and was transformed into a zebra.

“Each one of us was raising money for our chosen charities and I decided to raise money for Saint Francis Hospice as it is a charity close to my heart.

“I was a little nervous to begin with, however, the atmosphere was so upbeat and everyone was buzzing that my insecurities soon disappeared.

“There were ladies of various shapes and sizes, however, we all had a strong woman powerful feeling!”

Annie, who is the Retail Manager at the electrical store in Romford, who became a panda for the day, said,”It was a very empowering experience.

“We were all there for different reasons but we developed a bond straight away and the response from the public was great on the whole.”

Julia Bishop, who is the Manager at the Hornchurch general store, chose to be a brightly coloured snake!

Julia added, “It was something that really caught people’s attention and raise awareness of our chosen charities.

“It was a scary thing to do but it was fun and I am really glad I did it.”

And the ladies enjoyed it so much they’ve already planned to do it all over again next year!

Patients enjoy a paw-some visit

Animals can bring great comfort to people and when Izzy, an 8-year-old Labradoodle, popped in to Saint Francis Hospice for a visit on Friday (June 22), she brightened up the day of patients and staff!

Izzy with Elsie who was visiting the day services at Pemberton Place

Izzy is a Pets as Therapy dog and her proud owner Sally Birbeck, who is a retired nurse, spent time with patients in our day services at Pemberton Place and in the inpatient unit!

And Izzy and Sally enjoyed the experience so much they hope to return on regular basis!

“When people are seriously unwell or upset, it is amazing how dogs will pick up on it,” said Sally.

Izzy with Malcolm who was visiting the day services at Pemberton Place

“Izzy will come and sit next to people and lay her head on their lap.

“I think it also nice for people to just sit and stroke a dog as they may not be able to have a pet in their own home or be too unwell to look after a dog.”

Izzy with IPU patient Thomas

Fitness In Mind continue to make strides

It’s celebrations all round for Fitness In Mind today as they release their interim report detailing the fantastic progress made over the first 27 months of the revolutionary project to improve the district’s mental wellbeing through physical activity.

The Fitness In Mind Brentwood programme began in January 2016 as a three-year project targeting inactive local people with mental health problems, supported by Sport England, and in collaboration with lead partner Brentwood Leisure Trust. The programme has engaged 1379 people to date across 20 districts, offering 568 sessions of 24 sports with 10,571 peer support hours.

The results of the project are astounding, with a decrease in low mental wellbeing of 17% and a fall in physical inactivity by 27%.

Mental wellbeing among participants has seen a 30% positive change, physical wellbeing 33% and social wellbeing 22%, results never before seen in similar projects, and potentially paving the way for the use of physical activity as part of the solution for the growing issue of mental health in our communities.

Michael Barrett, Project Manager for Brentwood is delighted with the progress made.

“We have an amazing team of individuals with different backgrounds and experiences, pulling together in our shared values of helping others. Seeing the results and benefit it has for our members has been truly inspiring”

Roger Davinson, Chief Executive Offer of Brentwood Leisure Trust added “We are so proud to be one of the founding partners, supporting Fitness In Mind over the last three years, and we are looking forward to continuing the partnership into the future.”

The results are being presented at a huge event today attended by dignitaries including Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health and Inequalities, plus representatives from Sport England, Clinical Commissioners and those who have been instrumental in making the programme a success.

Attendees will hear not just about the accomplishments of the last two years, but also plans for the future, with hopes of extending the Brentwood project beyond its conclusion in December and the potential to expand into other districts, both only possible if funding can be made available.

Tambeson Eyong out to prove his worth to Billericay Town

Report from Leigh @beakster99

We understand that free agent Tambeson Eyong, 28, is currently participating in pre-season training with Billericay Town. He has joined on a non-contract basis, and over the next five weeks, will be seeking to impress manager, Harry Wheeler, sufficiently to earn himself a shot at a National South campaign with the Blues.

Eyong, who had latterly featured for Heybridge Swifts in their run to the 2017/18 Isthmian South play-off final, is a familiar name to Blues fans. As an ex-BTFC player, he spent six months at the club after joining in January 2017.

Comfortable in midfield, or as an accomplished right-back, he could bring additional options for the squad and valuable cover on the right side of defence. With pace, power, and commitment, he has been described as a “versatile power-house” by one of his previous managers.

He is an East London lad who came through the youth system at West Ham United before moving to Dagenham & Redbridge and having a spell, aged 17, at Scottish Premier League side, Gretna. He then had short stints at Aveley and Harlow Town, before, aged 20, signing for Isthmian Premier side AFC Hornchurch in March 2010.

Identified as a talent with a capacity to learn quickly, he settled into a successful Urchin side making 179 appearances and scoring 7 goals over four years there. During that time, he played alongside recent BTFC signing, Ricky Hayles.

Having experienced promotion to the National South in 2012/13, and relegation the following year, Tam moved on to ambitious, high spending Margate FC in October 2014. This followed a very short spell at Canvey Island but was worth the move as he won promotion once again to the National South, once again via the play-offs.

In June 2015, he headed back to Canvey Island but finished the season returning to Hornchurch. The following season National League South side, Bishops Stortford came calling and he spent four months there until a managerial change saw him surplus to requirements.

Another spell back at Canvey Island was followed in January 2017, by his first arrival at the New Lodge. He featured regularly for Billericay Town until his contract was cancelled by mutual consent at the end of the season.

Last season saw Tam arrive and leave Grays Athletic without playing a game. In March 2018, he signed for Heybridge Swifts and introduced himself on his debut with a goal of the season contender from 25 yards v Haringey Borough.

With a track record at the top of the Isthmian Premier, and experience of National South football, Tam has every chance of proving his worth to Billericay Town. Competition for places in an experienced squad is tough but, should he do well in pre-season training, he offers valuable experience and flexibility in several positions.

The Doddinghurst Stonley Festival 2018

The Inaugral Doddinghurst Stonley Festival will be held in the Village on Saturday 23rd June and Sunday 24th June.

Tudor fun for all the Family will be available as we celebrate the life of Richard Stonley, a diarist who lived in Doddinghurst in Tudor times, whose diaries are in the Folger Museum in Washington DC and who is the first recorded purchaser of a work of William Shakespeare. Events taking place include:

Saturday 23rd June
11.30am – 4.30pm
Doddinghurst Village Hall
Join us for a variety of fun activities for all ages to celebrate the life of our very own local Tudor diarist, Richard Stonley. From pillow jousting to craft stalls to a history trail to Tudor dancing and music we have things for all tastes. Ploughman’s lunches and afternoon teas also available.

Sunday 24th June
FREE Diary Masterclass for 6-11 year olds
Doddinghurst Village Hall
We are delighted to welcome Natasha from Chicken & Frog Bookshop who will run a fun and interactive workshop. Become a Tudor write and thespian in an hour!

12noon – 1pm
FREE Diary Masterclass for 11-18 year olds
Doddinghurst Village Hall
We are delighted to welcome Natasha from Chicken & Frog Bookshop who will run a fun and interactive workshop. Become a Tudor write and thespian in an hour!

3.30pm – 5.30pm
Play On!
Doddinghurst Village Hall Park
Adults £10, Under 16s £5, Under 3s FREE
Family Ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £25
We are delighted to welcome the renowned Shakespearean touring theatre company to Doddinghurst. They are going to provide us with a fabulous open air afternoon performance full of improvised Shakespearean comedy. Scheduled for after the England match, why not bring a picnic and make it a fun and relaxed afternoon.
(If bad weather, performance will take place inside Village Hall).
Bar available.

For more information visit the official website at

Meet The Sound Doctor: a free online video library for patients

A number of NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCGs)* , in partnership with Essex County Council, are offering local residents free access to ‘The Sound Doctor’  –  a library of patient education videos to support those with long term health conditions such as diabetes and dementia to live their lives to the full.

To access the videos, residents need to visit  The website is run by local authority partners and contains wider advice/information to improve health and wellbeing.
The content of Sound Doctor videos has been co-produced with clinical experts in their field and disease specific charities, e.g. Alzheimer’s Society, British Lung Foundation, & British Heart Foundation. All the material adheres to NICE guidelines.  The Sound Doctor was developed by Dominic Arkwright and Rosie Runciman – both previously worked at BBC for over 20 years.


All films are short and to the point, ranging from three to five minutes. The Sound Doctor bridges the gap in terms of easily accessible condition specific patient information in one place.

Who: should watch the films?
Patients, relatives, carers and anyone interested in knowing more about any of these conditions. Available to all Castle Point and Rochford residents.

How: Go to
Follow the link to The Sound Doctor
Select your GP practice from a drop down menu.
Enter your postcode.
You’re away!

*CCGs participating in the Sound Doctor programme include NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG, NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG and NHS North East Essex CCG.

Hospice celebrates Royal Wedding with a special breakfast

On the eve of what was the wedding of the year, hospice staff and volunteers celebrated with a Royal fundraising breakfast.

The canteen at Saint Francis Hospice was transformed into a palace on Friday (May 18) and staff dressed up as the Royal couple with our Meghan look-a-like wearing a stunning wedding gown and veil from our Harold Hill retail store!

There was excitement throughout the hospice as our Harry and Meghan visited patients on the inpatient unit.

Actress and Phoenix FM presenter Vicki Michelle was also at the hospice with her sisters to visit their mum Joanie who is being cared for on the ward, and she took time to pose for photos with the Royals and join in the fun!

Jan Scott, Service Development Manager at the hospice, said, “The laughter from our staff, and the music played at our Royal Wedding Breakfast, could be heard throughout the hospice. 

“It was a truly splendid way to express our happiness in preparing for the marriage of Prince Harry to Ms Megan Markle.

“To see the people we are caring for in the inpatient unit join in the fun was just perfect.  A great day was had by all.”

Prior to the wedding, the hospice contacted Kensington Palace to let them know about the Royal breakfast event and was delighted to receive a reply, “Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle were incredibly touched that you took the trouble to write as you did in connection to their forthcoming wedding.

“It really was most thoughtful of you and greatly appreciated. His Royal Highness and Ms. Markle send you their warmest thanks and very best wishes.”

Introducing the new Mayor of Brentwood

Brentwood Borough Council has elected Councillor Sheila Murphy as the Mayor of Brentwood for 2018/19; she will take over the role of ambassador and first citizen for the coming year.

Councillor Murphy replaces Councillor Will Russell who held the role last year.

Her appointment was made at Annual Council on Wednesday night, where members of the Council were joined in at Brentwood County High School by residents, family members and friends to witness the traditional Mayoral ceremony. Her husband Kevin will accompany her as her Consort.

Councillor Murphy, who is Brentwood’s 27th Mayor, was born in East London. She has lived in the Borough for 33 years.

While growing up, her family ran florist shops in East London before they ran a pub in Herongate. This has been in her family for 40 years, starting with her parents, then run by Sheila and her sister before she took it on on her own. She has now retired from the business and her sons continue to run it.

Sheila met Kevin when they were in school and later married in 1975. They had their sons James in 1976 and John in 1979 and now also have four grandchildren.

Sheila is very involved in her community and has been a trustee of the Herongate and Ingrave Preservation Society for 30 years. She has been a member of Herongate and Ingrave Parish Council for 14 years and is involved in many community activities locally. She has always felt part of the community and said she loves the people and where she lives adding her heart has always been in her village.

Sheila became a Borough Councillor for the Herongate, Ingrave and West Horndon ward in 2012 and has been part of the Asset and Enterprise Committee and Planning and Licensing Committee.

Sheila said: “I am proud to be representing Brentwood as Mayor and to have been chosen to do this. I’m ready to go out there and shout about how great Brentwood is and I hope to be able to carry out all my duties with dignity, grace and a smile.

“During my Mayoral year I will be highlighting and fundraising for three charities which reflect three areas that are very important to me – the community, young people and older members of the community. I have always been community minded, that’s where my heart lies, which is a running theme through all the charities I have chosen.”

Her chosen charities are:

West Horndon Village Hall – It is the hub of the local community and where most things happen. They have built it and run it themselves.

The Brentwood and District Scouts and Brentwood Division Girlguiding – Sheila will support the local groups and highlight the good work that they do with local children.

Wendy’s Kitchen – Wendy Thomas was a local lady who was a member of our church St Nicholas Church and spent many an afternoon prepping tea after church services. She was an unsung hero in Sheila’s local village. Wendy’s husband Ray has created this project in her memory – to build a new kitchen to modern standards at the church.

Sheila also intends to work with and alongside Cllr Russell’s new Community Trust Fund of Brentwood on fundraising events this coming year.

Councillor Keith Parker, ward member for Brizes and Doddinghurst, was appointed Deputy Mayor for 2018/19. His wife Frances is the Deputy Mayoress.

Brentwood School leads tributes to John Killilea

Brentwood School Headmaster Ian Davies has led tributes to Brentwood teacher John Killilea who has died unexpectedly in his sleep.

John Killilea had taught PE and maths at Brentwood School during his 30 year stay at Brentwood School, and also served as the school’s basketball coach before his retirements in July 2016.

Paul Golder says:

I was very sad to hear about Mr Killilea’s passing. He taught me while I was a pupil at Coopers Coborn School in Upminster in the 1980s. When I worked at Brentwood School in the mid 1990s as the school accountant, I found myself in the unusual position of controlling the budgets of someone who used to make me run around the fields!

As a colleague I found John to be a very friendly, calm and relaxed person, always happy to pop by and have a chat and someone who really enjoyed life. His untimely death will sadden many thousands of local people who met him and my thoughts are with his family at this sad time.

A statement published by Brentwood School read:

It is with great sadness that we inform you that our friend and colleague Mr John Killilea passed away unexpectedly in his sleep over the weekend. Headmaster, Ian Davies, held a special assembly for students and staff this morning. Here’s what he said:

“We are meeting this morning to remember a member of staff who, very sadly, passed away during the Bank Holiday weekend.

Mr Killilea was very highly regarded and widely respected. He was a real gentleman, kind and sensitive to the needs of others and always keen to help.

He started at Brentwood School in 1986, and positively influenced many Brentwood School students past and present, either on the sports field or in the classroom.

Initially appointed as a Teacher of PE, Mr Killilea proved particularly popular on the basketball court where his experiences as a former GB International led Brentwood School to many forays on the National School’s Basketball Championship including an overall victory in the 1990’s.

Mr Killilea soon progressed to Housemaster of East House and Examinations Officer before being promoted to Director of Co-Curricular activities.

Many of you will know him as a teacher of Maths but it was on the sports field where his real passion shone through.

His undoubted experience and enthusiasm has been a significant factor in sport at Brentwood School being represented on the national stage across a wide variety of activities and he will be sorely missed by all of us.

Many of you here will know his daughter, who is now in the Third Year, and son, who is in the Prep School. Both of them, and his wife, will need all the love and support we can give them in the next months and years ahead.”

The funeral will be held at St Peter’s Church, South Weald at 1pm on Tuesday 22nd May, with a private committal at Bentley’s Crematorium after the service.

Everyone is invited to refreshments after the service at the Old Brentwoods Club, Ashwells Road. The family have requested that there are no flowers. Donations will go towards setting up a fund in memory of John to help develop young athletes.

New art therapy group for bereaved young people aged 17-21

A hospice is inviting bereaved young people to come along to a new art therapy group so they can express their feelings and emotions through creativity.

Art Therapist Anna Green and Child and Family Therapist Stella Christou, who are part of the Family Support Services team at Saint Francis Hospice, are facilitating the group, which is for people aged between 17 and 21 who have lost a loved one under its care in the past two years.

“We hope to introduce the idea of art therapy as a therapeutic approach in bereavement as this hasn’t been offered before to this age group,” said Anna. 

“This is a different outlet and will give bereaved young people an opportunity to see how art therapy can help them as they may find talking 1-2-1 too difficult.

“We also hope that this shared experience of loss will create a supportive and non-judgemental environment for those attending.”
The sessions are free of charge and will take place at the hospice in Havering-atte-Bower every fortnight, beginning on Thursday, May 22 from 5.15pm to 6.45pm.

Please visit our website at to download the form which should be completed and emailed to Anna at by 11th May or to find out more please call the hospice on 01708 753319 and ask to speak to either Anna or Stella.

Thrift Green Trotters’ amazing achievement for Saint Francis Hospice

It goes without saying that the Thrift Green Trotters love to run but they also step up to make a difference!

And when 10 members ran the London Marathon in April, they raised an incredible £18,500 for Saint Francis Hospice.

For some Trotters it was their first marathon experience and for others it was a chance to relive the iconic race, but all the runners’ commitment and dedication over the months was rewarded with a medal as they passed the finish line and the huge sense of pride and achievement that will stay with them forever!

And it’s not just the awesome runners we need thank – Scores of members also spent the day handing out water at the Mile 10 drinks station and many showed their support by cheering on the hot and weary runners.

The club, which is based at the Brentwood Centre, originally set out to raise £15,000 for the hospice but thanks to its huge fundraising efforts which included quiz evenings, curry nights and golf days, it smashed its target!

And this latest figure is on top of the £23,000 the Trotters have raised for the charity over the past two years.

“We are immensely proud of our runners on completing the marathon on what was the hottest London Marathon on record and we are equally relieved to see them all come home safely,” said Thrift Green Trotters member Lynsey Prentice.

“Our passionate support for Saint Francis Hospice is simple – so many people have had first hand experience of the hospice and its services and we want to ensure they are available to other people in their time of need.”

Chris Franklin, Fundraising Organiser at the hospice, said, “The support we receive from the Thrift Green Trotters is simply outstanding.

“The Trotters is a club with a big heart and the London Marathon is a shining example of how it steps up to help its community.

“It costs £54 an hour to fund our specialist care services so this latest donation of £18,500 will make a real difference to so many people and their families at the most difficult time in their lives.

“On behalf of everyone at the hospice, we would like to say a massive thank you to all the Trotters for their continued support.”

Marathon heroes raise thousands for hospice care

It was the hottest London Marathon on record but that didn’t hold back 32 runners who battled through the heat and their achy muscles to complete the 26.2 mile course in aid of Saint Francis Hospice.

Luke Harman, 30, from Brentwood, described running the marathon as “one of the worst and one of the best days” of his life.

“The heat hit me hard earlier than I expected it to and I wasn’t sure I’d get through it, but the crowds and the realisation of why I was doing it and all the support from family and friends on the day and from afar got me through in the end,” said Luke, who was running in memory of his godmother Frances Garrett who was cared for by the hospice in 2000.

“The feeling at the end was indescribable and something that will stay with me forever.

“I always knew that if I ever did the marathon it would be for Saint Francis Hospice and I was so proud to wear my orange vest on the day.

“To raise over £5,000 for such an amazing cause and one which means a lot to my family and I is overwhelming and makes it all worthwhile.”

James Sapwell, 27, from Brentwood, completed his second London Marathon but this time he upped the challenge by dressing as a lion – a special tribute to the hospice’s mascot Frankie!

Lee Rhodes, 34, from Brentwood, completed his fourth London Marathon – his third for Saint Francis Hospice.

“I can honestly say it was the hardest marathon I have taken part in to date because of the weather conditions and I was very relieved and delighted to finish it,” said Lee.

“It was really good to see so many people there at mile 23 and it certainly got me through the last few miles.”

Sarah Hockley, 21, from Brentwood, who was inspired to sign up after volunteering at the charity, said, “Being a part of team SFH this year was one of the best experiences of my life, made all the better by the amazing morale between all the hospice runners.

“Knowing how much money I’d raised for such a worthwhile cause really did keep me going, along with the awesome cheer point of course!

“Thank you so much for having me as part of the team, I’m so proud to have run for you.”

Chris Franklin, Events Organiser at the hospice, said, “All our marathon runners are heroes!

“It takes so much dedication and commitment to prepare for a marathon and it takes every bit of determination to complete it on the day.

“A massive thank you goes out to all our runners who have raised thousands of pounds to help fund our specialist care services.

“And a special thank you to everyone who joined us at Mile 23 to cheer on our superstar runners.”

The One and Only – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

I was both surprised and privileged this afternoon, to get to chat with the star of this weekend’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Brentwood Centre – the one and only CHESNEY HAWKES.

The show’s producer, former Brentwood Mayor, MARK REED, was also on hand to provide some additional information.

Listen here to what both Chesney and Mark had to tell me: –

If you are quick there are still a few tickets available if you call 0333 6663366 or go to the Brentwood Centre Events page, click on the orange boxes shown on either side of the stage

Performances are at 7pm on Saturday 14th April and 2:30pm on Sunday 15th April.

Brentwood runners getting ready for another marathon

The 2018 London Marathon takes place on Sunday 22 April and we take a look at three local fundraisers who will be pounding the streets this year in aid of Saint Francis Hospice.

#TeamSFH runners raise £90,000 per year towards patient care. For more information see

James Sapwell

If you see a lion running around the streets of Brentwood there’s no need to be alarmed!

Shipbroker James Sapwell experienced the thrill of the London Marathon in 2016 and he’s roaring to do it all again in April dressed as a big cat – in honour of Saint Francis Hospice and its mascot Frankie.

James, 27, first ran the Virgin London Marathon in 2016 in memory of his best friend Jack Baxter’s dad, Dave Baxter, who was cared for by the charity before he died of Malignant Melanoma in 2013.

James, from Brentwood, was part of Team Dave Baxter and proudly ran alongside Jack, and three of their friends.

This time James is going the 26.2 mile distance alone on Sunday, April 22, but he has the fabulous support of his friends and family who will be helping him to raise as much money as he can for the charity.

“It is always a pleasure to do something that means other people can benefit from Saint Francis Hospice’s services and I don’t think we will ever stop,” said James, who served as a Brentwood Borough councillor from 2011 to 2015.

“The London Marathon is such an amazing experience. It is the only time the average person can feel like a professional athlete as people scream your name as you run through the streets of London, which is the best city in the world!”

Luke Harman

Luke Harman is making his first ever marathon one to remember by celebrating turning 30 just three days before the iconic race.

But it is much more than just a personal challenge for Luke! He is running in memory of his godmother Frances Garrett who was cared for by Saint Francis Hospice before she died of breast cancer in 2000.

“She was my mum’s best friend, and although she wasn’t direct family, she was still family,” said Luke, who lives in Brentwood and works as a Partnership’s Manager at the Football Association.

“It means everything to be running for the hospice as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

“It’s bigger than just me; it’s about raising money and awareness for the charity.

“I am excited as it will be a proud day for me, but there’s also the fear of the unknown and not knowing what’s coming.”

“I’m going to try and keep positive all the way round, and if I hit the dreaded wall, I’m going to try and remember why I’m doing it and what I’ll achieve at the end of it.”

Sarah Hockley

Volunteering at Saint Francis Hospice inspired Sarah Hockley, 21, to step outside her comfort zone and take on her first marathon!

Sarah’s initial contact with the hospice was through her mum Janet who works for Hetheringtons, a real estate agents in Hutton Road, Brentwood, which are big supporters of the charity.

This led to Sarah taking time out to volunteer at the hospice and even going the extra mile by signing up for the London Marathon so she could raise awareness and funds for its specialist care and support services.

“I’ve never done anything like this before so I just want to finish and enjoy the day,” said Sarah from Brentwood.

“Sporty events have never really been my thing but after volunteering at the hospice last year I’m eager to get involved a bit more. This is my next challenge and my chance to raise some serious money for the hospice.”

The Biggest Yellow Quiz of them all

Saint Francis Hospice hosted Brentwood’s biggest quiz last Friday at the Brentwood Centre. The event has been hailed as a massive success, breaking all records and selling out for the first time in its seven year history.

Phoenix FM not only entered two teams – one of which finishing 6th – but also provided the evening’s MC, Chris Hood, and the half-time entertainment in the form of Eat My Brunch host Michelle Ward who sang a great set.

Almost 900 quizzers took part with the Dagenham and Romford Donkeys, taking the winners title. Their team was made up of managers from the Romford and Dagenham stores of the Cooperative supermarket chain. The captain, Area Manager Mike Roast said, “We are over the moon to win, we can’t believe it.

“What a fantastic night out, I took part last year with a different team and we came 56th so this is definitely an improvement!”

Juliette Whittakker, Events Manager said “We are thrilled with the success of the quiz and the generosity of our supporters.

“On the night we raised £6,000 from the proceeds of our raffle and quizzers could pay a £5 and ask the Eggheads for an answer!”

Molly Austin (17) & her mother Lynsey attended the quiz for the first time, Lynsey said, “I’ve been blown away by it all this evening, it is amazing.” Molly who attends the Brentwood School was delighted to answer one of the trickier history questions!

Laura Davis, from Hutton said, “This is the second time I’ve come and it has been such a brilliant evening. “The atmosphere was fantastic and it was all for a wonderful cause.

“The highlight was definitely getting all the questions right in the music rounds and playing our joker!”

Jane Frame, Director of Fundraising & Marketing at the Hospice said “We would really like to thank all our sponsors The Big Yellow Storage Company, Phoenix FM and Marygreen Manor who all contributed so much to putting this night together.

“Barry Symmons and the Eggheads bring so much fun, our quizzers are delighted to get pics with them and pay for an answer. Steve Davis was brilliant too; he put together the music round and gave up his time to record it”.

“So many people contributed to the success of this event, our staff, volunteers and all of those who donated raffle prizes.”

Saint Francis Hospice relies on donations and fundraising events to provide their care and services, only 28% of their funding comes from the NHS which leaves a shortfall of £21,000 a day that needs to be raised to keep all the services going.”

Brentwood Half Marathon cancelled … but let’s run it anyway

As our regular listeners and readers will know, this year’s Brentwood Half Marathon was sadly cancelled due to a second visit from the Beast From The East.

Undeterred by this news, David Liddle and Gavin Perrett from Hawkhurst Alternative Investments decided to run the route anyway!

They set off promptly at 8am and trotted the course a little slower than normal, particularly as the roads between Mountnessing and Blackmore were very icy.

Gavin commented, “Having raised over £600 for Kids Inspire I felt obliged to at least attempt the run out of respect for the people who were generous enough to sponsor me.”

Saint Francis Hospice’s Big Yellow Quiz breaks records

Saint Francis Hospice is thrilled with the backing for this Friday’s (23rd March) Big Yellow Quiz at the Brentwood Centre.

Phoenix FM’s Chris Hood will be hosting the event and Eat My Brunch host Michelle Ward is providing the musical entertainment.

Barry, Beth, Keith, Kevin and Chris from BBC’s Eggheads will be there each with their own speciality round.

Sarah Williamson, Head of Community, Corporate and Events Fundraising with the Hospice, said: “We are so grateful to our amazing supporters. This year all previous hospice records have been broken with 820 sign ups so far.

“Our aim is to make it to 900 quizzers, so if any Phoenix FM listeners are free this Friday evening from 7pm and want to come along please call the hospice events team on 01708 771431 we would be delighted to hear from you.

“Our quizzers are really going to enjoy the music round – the wonderful Steve Davis, snooker legend and music buff is asking the questions for this one.

“This is a really fun evening; whether you’re a hard core quizzer or a trivia buff, get a few friends together, bring your drinks and snacks, come along and have fun whilst supporting a really deserving local charity.”

More information is available on

Saint Francis Hospice is a registered charity that employs 150 nurses, doctors and specialist healthcare staff who are supported by 800 volunteers. Together they provide care and help to more than 4,000 people across the boroughs of Havering, Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge and Brentwood. Saint Francis Hospice provides all of its services free of charge to support patients from our local community with any life-limiting illness including cancer, heart, lung or motor neurone disease.

The Brookings are Saint Francis Hospice’s latest big name signings

Sir Trevor Brooking and his wife Hilkka have become patrons of Saint Francis Hospice.

Pam Court, CEO of Saint Francis Hospice, announced the news today. Whilst Sir Trevor and Hilkka are longstanding supporters of the hospice – attending golf days and the annual ladies lunch this past year – they have now dedicated even more time, officially opening the hospice day services Pemberton Place following a relaunch.

Sir Trevor also agreed to start off the runners at the annual Santathon fundraising event in Dagenham in December, but heavy snow led to the event being postponed until March 25th. Sir Trevor has agreed to honour his commitment and will start off the 500 Santas signed up to attend.

When asked why they had chosen to become patrons, Sir Trevor said, “the hospice is fundamental to everyone who lives in the area and with people living longer I am very conscious of the challenge and the need for Saint Francis Hospice Services.”

Hilkka continued, “a lady who worked for us a few years ago came here. She was extremely well taken care of and that was the first time I visited here and I must be honest I was in awe of what I found and how well she was cared for. The place wasn’t as daunting as I thought and that’s where my interest started.”

Pam Court said “I am thrilled they have decided to become Patrons. Sir Trevor and Hilkka are such genuine, lovely people they have such an affinity with the hospice and they have a genuine interest and they have already committed time which to us is priceless. A huge thank you to both of them for getting involved.

“When Sir Trevor and Hilkka come to the hospice, staff, volunteers and patients are always excited to see them. Sir Trevor is so obliging coming in a number of times to sign memorabilia as he had so many requests.”

When asked if he was surprised by the amount of attention and interest he receives he said, “I am very lucky because even though I finished playing football a long time ago I’ve had various roles that have kept me in the public eye and we’ve always lived in this area. It seems 80/90% of the people are West Ham Fans.”

Hilkka says she is not really surprised because West Ham fans are really very loyal. “I have always said in our marriage the third person is West Ham United and at least I can say I love her.”

Accountant is counting down to the Brentwood Half Marathon

For years accountant Abigail Feeley has been spurring on runners as they passed her home along the route of the Brentwood Half Marathon.

Now Abigail, together with her friend Becky Innocent, is in training for the 13.1 mile race through the stunning Essex countryside on Sunday 18 March.

Abigail and Becky, both 25, signed up for one of Saint Francis Hospice’s exclusive places after the charity cared for Abigail’s mum Jackie Feeley before she lost her battle with bowel cancer on October 19th last year.

“My mum was only at the hospice for two days and when she died so suddenly it was such a shock to us,” said Abigail, who lives in Shenfield.

“We thought she was at the hospice for pain control and we expected her to be there a lot longer.”

Despite spending such a short time at Saint Francis Hospice, the family was impressed by the care Jackie received and it dramatically changed their perception of hospice care.

“We didn’t want mum to go into a hospice at first as we had an image that there would be death everywhere and it would be really horrible but mum had a huge room overlooking a beautiful garden,” said Abigail.

“Everyone we met was so caring and we were all so sad she only had a few days there as we know she would have liked it at the hospice.”

Within days of her mum’s death, the family was contacted by the hospice’s Family Support Services team and Abigail has taken up the offer of group bereavement counselling.

“It was so nice to be remembered,” said Abigail.

“I feel so lonely because I cannot talk to my friends about it; even though they are very supportive they cannot understand and I hope they never have to know what it feels like.

“Our family are very close but I don’t want to burden them either as they are grieving too.”
Abigail was also keen to support the hospice because it is a small local charity and she is able to make more of a difference.

She has also discovered that training for the Brentwood Half Marathon has given her a focus to help her cope with her grief.

“Running is something I really look forward to as it really clears your head for an hour,” said Abigail.

“With grief you need a date to work towards.

“I have seen the runners pass my house every year and this year my family and friends will be on the roadside cheering me on!”

Saint Francis Hospice are looking for more runners to join Abigail and Becky in #TeamSFH. For more details, visit or call the Events Team on 01708 771427.

Baking A Community Cake – a recipe for inclusion

Frontline Partnership (Frontline) is a Brentwood-based charity that has been promoting inclusion and acceptance of all for many years, by supporting adults with learning disabilities and high-support needs to be active participants in the local community.

Frontline has been asked countless times how the charity was developed. In response to this they have produced a document detailing the story of Frontline’s development and presenting the reader with thought-provoking questions to guide them into developing community-inclusive projects.

Using the analogy of a recipe for a multi layered cake, the document takes the reader through the various stages of building an inclusive community project. Each layer of the cake relates to a different aspect – for example preparing and baking, who are your cooks (people who are going to make the ‘cake’), what do you have in your store cupboard (what are the local resources) and so on.

The recipe is written based on Frontline’s work but can be adapted by the reader to meet the needs of other social groups and differing community structures.

It is available for free download from Frontline’s website here or alternatively a pre-printed copy can be obtained at cost price plus postage and packaging from the Frontline office.

Mary Hill and Gill Soper, the authors of the new Frontline document, are interested in hearing from individuals, groups or organisations that could enable Frontline to reach a wider audience by sponsoring the printing of this document and reducing the ongoing costs.