A much-loved hospice - the only of its kind in Southend - will mark its 35th anniversary next week.

Fair Havens, which opened in Westcliff on June 13 1983, has cared for 25,000 adults across Southend, Rochford, and Castle Point with life-limiting conditions both at the hospice and in the community.

The hospice was founded by three members of the community at a site in Chalkwell Avenue, where it has remained ever since.

The charity has recently entered plans for a new 16-bed built-for-purpose facility to be created in Prittlewell, close to Priory park, and is now looking forward to the future as its reflect on its remarkable past.

Louise McKay, Fair Havens in-patient unit ward sister, said: “Fair Havens is an amazing place to work. Being a nurse at Fair Havens allows me to care for people they way they deserve to be cared for; with kindness and compassion.

“We’re privileged at Fair Havens that we’ve got the time to sit with our patients and spend time with their relatives, because they never come on their own they always come as part of a package, and that includes children, grandchildren, aunts and uncles and we do have the time to care for everybody.”

However in recent years the building has become increasingly unfit for purpose and plans have been submitted for a new hospice in Prittlewell.

Every month, 11 patients have to be turned away due to a lack of suitable rooms available, however the new facility will allow them to care for twice as many patients.

Louise adds: “This building has served us well for many years but trying to provide modern day healthcare in this setting is proving difficult. The building has been adapted many times but actually we’re at a point now where we’ve outgrown this building.

“Staff have showed incredible resilience over the years but it is more and more challenging every week that goes past.

“My hopes for the future of hospice care are that patients and their families can access it when they need it and where they need it, in a modern healthcare environment.”