In July 1979 Dr Miller heard of a lady named Freda Pearce. He attended a meeting where he learned that she was planning to raise money for a hospice in Herefordshire! She had just completed an appeal for a body scanner for the oncology unit at Cheltenham General Hospital where she had been successfully treated for cancer. That appeal was so successful that it raised the £90,000 needed to buy the scanner outright.
Arriving on Freda’s doorstep the following morning, Dr Miller introduced himself and announced that they shared a common ambition. The effect was electric and in no time at all Freda was planning a fundraising campaign.
Using Freda’s existing group as a base, a number of potentially interested people were approached and a fundraising and planning committee was formed. The committee was named the Freda Pearce Foundation for Continuing Cancer Care and the appeal was launched a few weeks later at a meeting at Richard’s home.
Unsurprisingly they were somewhat daunted by the enormity of the task but were greatly encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive interest and enthusiasm locally. A founder member of the committee, Rev’d John Hall-Matthews, also assured them that with faith and determination, anything was possible.
In 1980, Dr Miller approached Tricia Hales, Chairperson of the Herefordshire Amateur Rafters, to help raise funds to pay for a ward for the proposed new hospice. The group came aboard and raised just over £10,000 that year and £15,000 the next.