Published on: Monday 18 Mar 2019 at 14:12
More than 150 people gathered to celebrate the life of Lord Braybrooke…
More than 150 people gathered at Audley End on the afternoon of Saturday 9th March at a celebratory reception in memory of Lord Braybrooke. Guests included the Lord-Lieutenant of Essex, the Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, the Mayor of Saffron Walden, the Mayor of Great Dunmow, family and friends of Lady Braybrooke and many individuals connected with St Clare Hospice, including patrons, trustees and relatives of patients.
The event was inspired by Lady Braybrooke in memory of her husband, to help St Clare Hospice raise awareness of our work, helping people with life-limiting illnesses in the local community. Hospice staff and Lady Braybrooke worked together to organise the celebratory reception in conjunction with staff from English Heritage, who generously gave permission for the event to take place at their historic country house.
Lady Braybrooke, who welcomed guests to the event, said: “It is lovely to see so many of you here today and I am very grateful to you for coming. I don’t know if any of you have ever been in a hospice or have known or been close to someone in a hospice, but if you have you will know of the really wonderful and selfless care that patients in a hospice receive. And perhaps you will all remember Robin Braybrooke today, who opened St Clare in 2000 and regarded opening it as one of the high spots of his Lieutenancy.”
Sarah Thompson, Chief Executive of St Clare Hospice, spoke to guests about the work of the Hospice and how they can help the charity in future. “I’m delighted that so many of you are here today in this fascinating place, in celebration of Lord Braybrooke. We’re very grateful to English Heritage for letting us use this prestigious venue today.
“My immense thanks also go to Lady Braybrooke who has been incredibly generous in her support of the work we do, providing life-enhancing support to people in our local community at one of the most difficult stages of their life. Every month around 200 people receive our care, both in the community and in our inpatient unit at the Hospice, but we know that there is more
that we could be doing to support the 4,000 people who die in West Essex and East Hertfordshire each year.
“Over the next 3 years we are looking to invest in our services so that significantly more people receive the care they need to be comfortable and supported at home, as they approach the end of their life. But this doesn’t come without cost; we need to raise 60% of our costs every year through our fundraising efforts and are looking for your charitable support to help us achieve our ambition to help more local people when they need it most.”
Guests were treated to an afternoon tea of sandwiches and a fabulous selection of home-made cakes and scones, all served on delicate vintage crockery. Food was prepared by local company Ashton Catering. Sworders, the auctioneers, generously part-sponsored the catering costs.
Dr Peter Moore, Curator of Collections and Interiors, at Audley End, spoke to guests about the history of Audley End House, which was built on the site of Walden Abbey, a 12th century Benedictine priory. “It’s a real treat for you all to have afternoon tea in this historic house – something that only few can claim to have had. Audley End was once one of the largest Jacobean mansions in this country, used to entertain King James I, and later owned by King Charles II. It was extensively refurbished during the 18th century, and its Jacobean character was restored in the 19th century. Every owner has made their mark, leaving us with a uniquely rich and diverse property today.”
Peter told the guests a little about 16,000 objects in the house’s collection, including a fine library collection, historical taxidermy, paintings, and ethnographic objects. “Today the house offers a glimpse of every era in the house’s occupancy. Audley End continues to be a living, breathing place in the local community.”
All photographs copyright John Turner Photography. John kindly volunteered his time and expertise to capture this wonderful event.