Princess Alice Hospice owes its existence to the dedication and determination of the volunteers and community members who have fundraised with such energy from the early 1980s, right through to the present day. Back in those early years, it was volunteers who engaged with the local community to raise the funds to buy the land; plan, design and construct the building itself; and then staff and equip it. 

This fundraising took all kinds of forms. Many local businesses donated, members of the community were incredibly generous, local schools got involved, and all manner of fundraising fetes, coffee mornings, concerts and other events took place. 

One local business, Guy Salmon’s car dealership in Thames Ditton, offered to donate either £3,000 (a significant sum back then) or a brand new Mini Mayfair. Virginia Waller, then Mayor of Elmbridge and instigator of a Mayoral Appeal to raise funds to build the Hospice, opted to take the Mini Mayfair and offer it as a raffle prize – which turned out to be the right decision. The car was exhibited in numerous locations around the local area ahead of the draw, which took place a few days before Christmas at a fundraising carol concert at Guildford Civic Hall. The raffle ended up raising over £13,500. 

family with mini

The winners of the Mini, Sam and Josephine, who lived in Hersham, bought the winning raffle ticket from a local electrical shop, after the staff there explained that the raffle was raising funds for the Hospice. Soon after the family went to Italy on holiday, so Sam left the tickets with his brother. Sam and his wife were of course delighted to receive a phone call in Italy telling them that they’d won the car. They “couldn’t believe their luck and couldn’t wait to get home!”  Until then, the family only had Sam’s van (he worked as a landscape gardener) and Josephine recalls the excitement of their first trip to the Safeway supermarket in Hersham and can still picture the luxurious velour seats of their brand new car.  

Sam with the miniAt the time, Josephine couldn’t drive, but she and Sam, young daughter Francesca and son Joe (who Josephine was expecting when they won the car), enjoyed family trips in it at weekends and whenever Sam wasn’t working. In due course, as their family grew, they upgraded to a bigger car but had many fond memories of their lucky Mini! 

Francesca with the carSadly Sam died in 2000, but Josephine still lives in Walton-on-Thames and was very happy to reminisce about her family’s unexpected win. Francesca is now a solicitor, living in Guildford with her own children. She was only 2 at the time of their win, but perhaps the lucky car left an impression, as Francesca now drives a Mini (albeit a bit bigger) herself…