Charity begins at home

For those who know us well, you’ll know that we care passionately about the local community and like to support local charities where we can. Here at The Wheatsheaf in Farnham, our pub charity of the year, since opening (2013), has remained very close to ours and many of our locals’ hearts.

This charity continues and strives to provide the very best care and support, without charge,  to adult patients and their families across the whole of West Surrey and part of North East Hampshire. We are, of course, talking about Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care.

Next year, this charity will be celebrating its 40th anniversary and it has much to shout about! In preparation for this anniversary, we visited the fundraising team at the Hospice, which is located on Waverley Lane, to learn more about this incredibly important charity, its heritage and its future goals.

patient and nurse at Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice

Who was Phyllis Tuckwell

Phyllis Tuckwell was a local mother of three who was diagnosed with cancer in 1949. Her husband, Sir Edward Tuckwell, was an eminent surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and former Sergeant-Surgeon to Her Majesty the Queen.  Following Phyllis’ death in 1970, Sir Edward resolved to strive for greater choices for terminally ill patients. Combined with some notable forces, including one patient, in particular, an ambitious project was embarked upon: to create a modern hospice in West Surrey, to be named after Sir Edward’s late wife.

Originally from Jersey, Yvonne Dale was a Woking-based mother of two. Yvonne was diagnosed with cancer at an early age and, while in hospital and under Sir Edward’s care, Yvonne determined that when she pulled through, she would do all that she could to help her fellow sufferers. With the goal of raising funds for cancer research in the Woking area, Yvonne organised a small fundraising group, originally of housewives, where, following a meeting with Sir Edward, he suggested a need for a small home in West Surrey where terminally ill patients could be properly cared for.

A Steering Committee was formed by Yvonne, and between them, The Phyllis Tuckwell Memorial Hospice charity was founded in 1972.  A major public appeal was launched in Guildford Cathedral in September of that year, one month before Yvonne died. Her unerring and inspiring dedication to the enormous task never ceased to falter, and she continued to work strenuously until just hours before her early death in October 1972. At this time, the ‘Dove of Peace’ logo was proffered by a member of the team, Hector Wainwright; it continues to represent the philosophy of the Phyllis Tuckwell today.


Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care was, and today continues to be, a living testimony to the determination of a small group of incredible individuals and to the dedication and generosity of a community who understand this need and support the objective. The compassion and involvement of the community is as essential now as it was back then.

Phyllis Tuckwell today

Did you know that Phyllis Tuckwell is the only Hospice Care service for adult patients, and their families, across the whole of West Surrey and part of North East Hampshire?  For many patients living with an advanced or terminal illness, Hospice Care helps manage pain and improves the quality of life for both the patient and their family. Seeking care through Phyllis Tuckwell isn’t about giving up hope or hastening death, but rather a way to get the most appropriate care in the last phase of life.

Patients who spend their last days at the Hospice have a wonderfully calm and peaceful environment in which be with their family, surrounded by a whole team of highly-trained professionals – Specialist Palliative Consultants and Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers, Welfare Advisors, Chaplains, Therapists and Counsellors.  The PTHC Clinical Nurse Specialists and Doctors work closely with GPs, District Nurses and other Hospital Health Care Professionals involved in the patients’ care.

When speaking to the charity about what makes this Hospice so special, their Corporate Partnerships Manager commented:

The Hospice remains open 24 hours, 7 days a week to family and friends of the patients – there are no visiting hours here, plus, our four-legged friends are also most welcome. Rooms look out onto the inner garden and many enjoy the heartwarming sounds from the nearby school of children laughing and playing   The In-Patient Unit has 18 beds and, within the wider community, the Phyllis Tuckwell team cares for on average 250 patients, carers and relatives a day in their own homes here in Farnham, Guildford and surrounding areas and all of this care is provided for FREE.  Not only do they provide much needed care and support, the Hospice has also become adept at creating wonderful surprises and lasting memories – from organising a wedding with 24-hours notice to arranging for some ponies to visit the grounds, for a father to see his children riding confidently, following external lessons that he wasn’t able to attend.

This much-needed Hospice has to raise in excess of £8 million per annum (£20,000 per day) in order to keep its services running.

The charity receives just 20% of funding from the NHS/ government, so every single penny they can raise really does help. For this reason, they host a colourful and varied calendar of events throughout the year and through the help of the local communities and businesses, they are able to keep the charity alive and forefront of mind.

We will continue to do our bit for Phyllis Tuckwell, which includes raising as much awareness and money as we can.  For every pint of Red Mist Ale we sell at The Wheatsheaf, 20p goes to the charity. Plus, the first Wednesday of every month we also host a local business networking event in order to drive as much local business interaction as possible. This is a free event to attend, with a suggested £5 donation to Phyllis Tuckwell. In the last few years alone we have raised over £15,000 for this charity across a variety of initiatives.

If you would like to help raise money for Phyllis Tuckwell or you would like to give up your time and volunteer for them, click here for more information.

Take a look at our Local page, to find out how else we support and work with the local community.