THE MEMORIES of three loved ones who lost their battle with cancer live on at the Weldmar Hospice Care Trust.

Now original founder trustee David Johnston says he is proud of how the hospice has grown and touched the lives of so many people.

The idea for a hospice in Weymouth was dreamed up 21 years ago by relatives who were all mourning the loss of loved ones – Martin Shapcott, Mark Hardwicke and Margaret Johnston.

After losing his first wife Margaret to cancer, David, along with Rosemary Hardwicke and Meg Fox, began discussions and fundraising for a hospice in Weymouth in 1988.

Mr Johnston said: “I already knew Rosemary and Mark from attending church services together.

“Meg lost her father, Martin, a few years earlier and she had this vision for a hospice in the town.

“She approached Rosemary and myself with a view to coming up with ideas on how to make it work.”

Once the trio had agreed to proceed they began to research other hospices to see how they were set up and run. It was decided that the way forward was to concentrate on providing day care rather than 24-hour care.

Mr Johnston said: “The three people we had lost all had the continuing theme of Mar and that’s how the name was formed.”

It took eight years to find a building, raise funds to buy it and turn the vision into reality.

But on February 28, 1996, the Trimar Day Care Hospice was opened.

After raising money to buy the first two floors of the Greenhill building, fundraising continued and in 1999 the third and final floor was turned into space for offices and teaching.

The £500,000 area included a conservatory and was funded by local supporters and businesses as well as grants and lottery funding.

On September 30, 2003, the Trimar Hospice and the Joseph Weld Hospice, in Dorchester, merged into a single group to provide a comprehensive day care and 24-hour care facility.

A final merger took place in November 2004 when Trimar joined with CancerCare Dorset, expanding the service even further.

This final piece of the jigsaw provided Trimar Hospice with community nurses who could provide care to patients in their homes. Today the hospice is the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust and provides a vital service for patients and their relatives.

How you can help

The Dorset Echo and the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust have joined forces for our Show Then You Care campaign. We hope to raise enough money to fund a nurse for a year. Go online to or send cheques payable to The Weldmar Hospicecare trust tot he Dorset Echo offices at Fleet House, Hampshire Road, Weymouth, DT4 9XD.