Dame backs Romanian charity
One of Margaret Thatcher's former ministers has pledged her support to a hospice charity.
Dame Marion Roe, the patron of Hospices of Hope, was guest of honour at the opening of its new shop in Main Road, Biggin Hill, on Tuesday.
She chaired the all-party parliamentary group for hospices for 15 years before retiring as MP for Broxbourne in 2005, having first been elected in 1983.
Hospices of Hope gives care to terminally-ill children and adults in the Balkan states and surrounding countries. Dame Marion has visited Romania and Serbia to promote the charity. She is using her ministerial experience to get foreign governments on board with the charity’s work.
The 74-year-old, who was once a pupil at Bromley High School, said of her visits to the Balkans: “They were very memorable and emotional trips. Without the hospices they would be in a terrible state.
“It is difficult to get people to focus on hospices in Serbia. The principle is accepted but it takes a lot of hard work to get people to understand that the care is free and we do it to help people die with dignity. Volunteering and charitable giving is not part of their culture but the message is starting to get through.
“I hope the new shop in Biggin Hill will be a great success, not just for the charity but for the whole village. People will be able to buy good value gifts and feel at the same time that it’s a worthwhile cause, caring for people who do not have the support we do in the UK. With Christmas coming it should be the first port of call.”
Dame Marion lives with her husband in Downe, where she has had a home for 42 years.