Friends and Trustees have celebrated saving of one of St Ives’ most iconic buildings, the Edward Hain Memorial Hospital.

Edward Hain cutting ribbon
Lynne Isaccs cuts the ribbon to get work under way at the Edward Hain Centre

The building has been bought from the NHS, and its future safeguarded for the benefit of the town. It will soon open as a new health hub for St Ives and surrounding areas under the name the Edward Hain Centre.

This achievement has come about thanks to the former hospital’s League of Friends, formed in the 1960s to raise funds for the hospital. When the NHS announced in late 2021 that it intended to sell the building, the Friends were determined to prevent its legacy from being lost to commercial development.

They set out to buy the building and create a new health and wellbeing centre for the St Ives community. With the help of St Ives Town Council, who mediated the initial stages of negotiations, the Friends entered into a process that took more than 18 months to complete.

During this time, they ran a vigorous campaign of fundraising events. With the wholehearted support of local businesses and the community, they have raised a staggering amount. Added to previously-raised funds and a number of generous personal donations, the shortfall for the agreed £1,000,020 purchase price was met by a mortgage of £400,000.

Edward Hain cheers
Friends, trustees, and guests celebrate the completion of the initial fundraising campaign

A new charity was set up to own and run the centre, all of whose trustee-directors have strong links to the town. Two trustees’ St Ives lineage goes back to the 1500s. One is a great-niece of Captain Edward ‘Teddy’ Hain, in whose name the hospital was founded in 1920, following his death in the first world war.

“The hospital touched the lives of so many generations in St Ives,” said Lynne Isaacs, chair of the Edward Hain Centre. “The outpouring of goodwill towards our project demonstrates their loyalty. We’re thrilled that we can now bring much-needed health services back to the town.”

Those services will include medical and clinical sessions across all ages and needs, offered by providers with whom discussions are already under way. Many will be free at the point of delivery.

The aim is also to support people with conditions like Parkinson’s, dementia, and other mental health challenges, as well as working with health-related groups and charities offering broader wellbeing and preventive services like food quality awareness and yoga.

“We have a long wish list!” said the centre’s secretary, Donna Trudgeon. “We can’t wait to bring the Edward Hain building back to life. We welcome input from volunteers and our community — and if anybody represents a health and wellbeing organisation that would like to work with or rent space from us, please contact us at”

Some of the Friends (left) and Trustees of the Edward Hain Centre

Meanwhile the Friends, now renamed Friends of the Edward Hain Centre, remain a vital fundraising arm. A priority is to pay off the £400,000 mortgage, which helped them to reach their target.

“We have many events planned,” said Friends chair Angela Walker. “‘In September, a cream tea, a grand ball at Tregenna, and a race night. Later in the year, an eight-day online auction, quizzes, crowdfunding… the list goes on! They’ll all be posted under ‘events’ on our Facebook page, Friends of the Edward Hain Centre.”

Another event being planned is a celebratory open weekend on 9th and 10th September. “We hope the whole town will turn out to look around the centre and hear about what we have planned,” said Lynne. “We’ll be running various events over that weekend, too. Everyone is welcome!”

With keys finally in hand, between now and mid-September the Edward Hain Centre trustees will be working hard to oversee repairs and renovations at the building, with some rooms, they say, ready to be occupied soon.

Yesterday, there was a ceremonial ribbon cutting, attended by St Ives mayor Johnnie Wells and MP Derek Thomas, among others. There was then an opportunity to tour the building, which is in surpirsingly good condition. It’s easy t imagine it as a bustling community hub.

Edward Hain Elizabeth Maureen

There was a special presentation recognising the work of Elizabeth Veal and Maureen Humphry (pictured above), long-standing members of the Friends committee for more than 40 years.

One of the jobs on the list is the trimming of tree at the front of the building. From the upper floors there were views of the dail comings at goings at the then Porthminster Hotel, Elizabeth recalled.

Dr Dan Rainbow, local GP and clinical director for Penwith PCN, said: “On behalf of the local GPs at the Stennack Surgery, and the wider community of health and care professionals, I would like to congratulate the team behind the successful acquisition of the former Edward Hain Hospital.

“We very much welcome the exciting prospect of seeing the development of a range of community-focused activities at the new centre, which will no doubt be of real benefit for our local community. This fits with our aims in Penwith of keeping the care and support of our communities ‘as close to home’ as possible.

“Well done to the dedicated team who had the vision, passion, and commitment to see this through, to NHS Property Services and the local council who supported the process, and to the many hundreds of local people who raised funds to keep this historic building in local community ownership.”

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