Good Samaritan Ruth Burgess leaves £250,000 legacy to Weston Hospicecare
A good Samaritan who lived a frugal life so that she could help others has left a £250,000 legacy to a hospice.
Committed Christian Ruth Burgess, 87, of Weston-super-Mare, was one of a group led by the Rev Geoff Hobden from the town’s Christ Church, who established Weston Hospicecare in the late 1980s.
Her endless support included organising events for the Friends of Weston Hospicecare, making chutney and other goodies to sell, doing door-to-door and street collections and representing the hospice at many events.
Yesterday, Mary Armstrong, founding member and former trustee said: “Ruth’s contribution to the setting up of and the running of, the hospice is incalculable.”
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Miss Burgess died last March but her legacy has only just been revealed.
Her friend and former chief executive officer of Weston Hospicecare, Colin Sills, said: “As she approached her 80s she could be seen sitting under a storm-blown canvas literally being the last one standing. All this effort as a volunteer.
“The very generous legacies to Weston Hospicecare and CMJ [Christian Mission amongst Jews] have partly arisen from the very frugal way she lived and always put others before herself.”
It was only the onset of illness in 2006 that made it impossible for Miss Burgess to continue volunteering.
Her friendship with, and counsel to, Sybil Jackson-Barstow, Weston Hospicecare’s greatest benefactor, was believed to be the motivation behind the £3 million legacy from Miss Jackson-Barstow, which enabled the hospice to build its current premises in Uphill – named Jackson-Barstow House – to which it serves 1,300 people each year.
Miss Burgess was born into a family rooted deeply in the local community. Her mother, from the Champion family, set her an example to follow.
As a young woman Miss Burgess was a leader and later captain of a Girl Guide company, and secretary of Christ Church, Montpelier, parochial church council for 40 years.
Her Christian faith manifested itself in her involvement with Christian Mission amongst Jews, a charity which seeks to develop good relations between Christians and Jews and to be supportive of Jews who embrace the Christian faith. She also left a donation to the CMJ in her will.
Gill Auden, the current chief executive officer of Weston Hospicecare, said: “It is a very special person who works hard all their lives to make things easier and better for other people.
“That is what Ruth has done with a lifetime of devotion to charity and the community that she loved.
“Now with this wonderful donation in her will she continues to make a difference to local people who rely on, or will rely on the hospice to get them through what is a very difficult time.
“We cannot thank Ruth enough for what she has given the hospice over the last 25 years.”