Hospice benefactors look forward to opening their gardens for St Michael’s

‘You can’t take your wealth with you, so we came to the conclusion that we’d give it away.’

They’re not words you hear very often, particularly in these austere financial times.

But for Clive Richards, one of Herefordshire’s most wealthy and generous residents, he means every bit of it.

Clive and his wife Sylvia have given away millions of pounds to good causes for the past three decades, and have no intention of slowing down.

‘We just try to help people, particularly those who can’t help themselves,’ said Clive, who was awarded an OBE for charity in the Millennium Honours List and was made a Papal Knight by Pope Francis last year.

‘Once you’ve made a certain amount of money, you can only spend so much.

‘I’ve had a hell of a good life and been able to do what I want. But you can’t take it with you, so we came to the conclusion that we would give our wealth away.’

In 2016 this generosity included a £1million donation to St Michael’s Hospice, enabling the charity to complete its 20-bed Inpatient wing in Bartestree, increasing the palliative care offering to the people of Herefordshire and beyond to a level never before reached.

‘Five of our employees have died at St Michael’s,’ added Clive.

‘The Hospice is probably the favourite charity in Herefordshire; so many people have been touched by it.’

Born and brought up in the Black Country, Clive’s mum and dad used to visit Herefordshire regularly, with Clive enjoying fruit picking while here.

His working life was largely spent in London’s financial district, building up, floating and selling several PLCs, and later becoming High Sheriff of Greater London.

But on occasion his work brought him back to Herefordshire, reaffirming his love for the area.

After deciding to move here in the mid 1980s, the couple set-up the Clive and Sylvia Richards Charity which gives away around £1.5 million a year.

They help schools and other educational establishments, plus healthcare, heritage and arts-based causes within 100 miles of Hereford.

With such a busy diary, finding spare time can be tricky but when they do, Clive and Sylvia enjoy their beautiful Lower Hope home in Ullingswick, a charming estate featuring a haven of wildflowers and woodlands, orchards and herb gardens.

‘I think of it as a hobby which has got out of hand,’ said Clive.

‘But it’s a top garden. I just love it.’

Thanks to the couple’s hospitality they are opening the grounds and gardens next month as part of the St Michael’s Hospice Open Gardens programme.

‘I’m sure people will enjoy visiting,’ said Clive. ‘It means a lot to welcome people here, and to support St Michael’s at the same time.’

  • Lower Hope will be open to the public as part of the St Michael’s Hospice Open Gardens programme on Sunday, 16th June from 2-5pm. For more details visit st-michaels-hospice.org.uk