A MAJOR milestone has been reached in the building of a new hospice for Southend.

Yesterday, the last piece of the roof was fixed in place at the new Fair Havens Hospice in Prittlewell.

The Topping Out event was attended by staff and volunteers who, in spring 2020, will be caring for patients from the new building.

The honour of fitting the final tile was given to one of the charity’s fundraisers, Lydia Plews whose mum, Mary, was cared for by the existing hospice in Chalkwell just before she died in 2012.

Mary, 54, was a nurse at Southend Hospital and had worked with many of the Care Team at Fair Havens.

Lydia said: “I think if we knew more about Fair Havens earlier, we could’ve persuaded her to go the hospice earlier and may have had a few more weeks with her as the doctors and nurses at the hospice were brilliant.


(Credit: Warren Page)

“It was tough for us, but the Care Team too. Many of them knew Mum but for her it was a comfort to know she was being looked after by those who knew her best.

"She was absolutely clear she didn’t want to die at home so to be at the hospice being cared for by a trained palliative care team – who involved us in everything – was just amazing.

“Before Mum became ill, we do remember Mum talked clearly about the importance of the hospice and that has never left us.”

Topping out is a major development as it means that the hospice is now watertight so work can start on the inside, creating the rooms for patients.

The building was designed by LSI Architects and the project is being managed by Barnes Construction.

Mark Hart, Joint Managing Director at Barnes Construction said, “The project has reached its busiest stage with more than 70 people now on site all working together so the hospice can start caring for patients in spring 2020.”


The plans to deliver a new hospice for the community has cost £17.2million and there is just £350,000 left to raise.

Earlier this month, with the support of the Echo, Havens Hospices launched its Power of a Pound campaign.

The scheme is based on the concept that if everyone in Southend, Castle Point and Rochford could donate a pound each, this target would be met.

The new facility will include 16 bedrooms and increased community services and the new Fair Havens base will be able to care for twice as many patients who are facing end-of-life illnesses.

Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, and James Duddridge, MP for Southend East and Rochford, also backed the campaign.

Hospice bosses say just £1 from everyone in south Essex will get them to their target and the Echo is appealing to its readers to give generously in a bid to get the charity over the line.

It is so easy to get involved and tips on how to fundraise can be found on the charity’s website where you can also donate your £1 for their campaign.

For more information about how you can get involved please visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/powerofapound