St Ives is anticipating an exciting development this year: the opening of the new Edward Hain Centre for Health and Wellbeing.

Edward Hain
The Friends pictured on the lifeboat slipway in St Ives

The project has been spearheaded by a fiercely dedicated group of volunteers, the League of Friends of the former Edward Hain hospital (known as ‘the Friends’), which originally formed in the 1960s.

After the NHS closed the hospital and announced in 2021 that it would be selling the building, the Friends decided to buy it and create the new centre. By early 2022, with St Ives Town Council on board to help mediate the purchase, negotiations were under way.

With a healthy amount already raised in previous years, the Friends’ fundraising team launched an ambitious schedule of events: coffee mornings; luncheons; quizzes; a golf tournament; musical gigs of all kinds; online auctions; a toddle waddle; ball at Tregenna Castle …

One particularly noteworthy event was a sponsored walk, for which the star participant was 92-year-old Enid Deeble (previously Noall). Enid had a very personal reason for her determination: she was a nurse at the hospital in the 1950s.

Between February and December, events raised an incredible £80,000. Generous donations topped that up to £130,000, and with a mortgage also secured, the Friends had the funds they needed. “The outpouring from local businesses, groups, and individuals who arranged or hosted events was just amazing,” said event organiser-in-chief Donna Trudgeon. “We couldn’t have done this without them.”

Now that the purchase is nearing completion, the Friends are ringing in some changes. Several members have left to become trustees of the new Edward Hain Centre, which will own and run the building. To take their place, the Friends have recruited eight new members, adding to the five who remain. But although they now have enough money for the purchase, they’re not about to rest on their laurels.  

“The centre will need renovation and upgrades, both now and in the future,” said the Friends’ incoming chair, Angela Walker. “So the Friends will keep fundraising, just like we always did for the hospital. We have some wonderful events being lined up this year, some the same as last year, like the ball — not to be missed on 16th June! — another online auction, and fashion show, and some new, like a wine tasting on 18th May, and lots more in the works. We usually have a fabulous raffle or tombola at each event, as well.”

How can people find out about upcoming events? So far, publicising them has mainly been via Facebook and local press. But this year, there’s also a combined Friends and Edward Hain Centre e-newsletter, which will announce all events, as well as news about what’s happening at the centre itself. Email to ask to be added to the joint Friends and Edward Hain Centre email list — a sure way to keep informed about ongoing events for this very worthy cause.