Lasting friendship inspires gift of care to Springhill Hospice.
Mary Bottomley’s will leaves a lasting legacy of care for patients, thanks to a friend’s £100,000 decision.
When Ray Farrell met Fred and Mary Bottomley he could not have known that 30 years later, their friendship would make a huge difference to end-of-life care in the Borough of Rochdale.
“I first met Fred at Rochdale Golf Club in 1988. I was a new member and Fred insisted we play a round of golf together. At first I thought he was ‘very bossy’ but I’m pleased he cajoled me into playing that first 18 holes with him,” remembered Ray. “From that day we were close friends, not just Fred and I, but our wives, Mary and Barbara, as well.”
“Fred and Mary, who unfortunately lost their only child at birth, had a real passion for life, filling every moment enthusiastically and for the good of others. Both were in service in the RAF, with Mary being particularly proud of her long service medal. They had a varied social life which Ray and his wife Barbara and mutual friends June and Dr Philip Rowlands were privileged to be a part of. In his later days, Fred helped to set up and run the senior section at Rochdale Golf Club” explained Ray.
June Rowlands, seen here accompanying Ray to present the £100,000 cheque at Springhill Hospice, also has fond memories of the couple, remembering Sunday afternoons together, enjoying coffee or a glass of Harvey’s Bristol Cream and spoiling the Rowlands’ two Boxer dogs, which Fred and Mary doted on.
Fred died in 2009 and later Mary was cared for at Carders Court Care Home in Castleton for four years before her death in December 2017.
Enjoying 62 years of marriage, this frugal couple were not interested in the significant amount of money they had saved. So when the time came for Ray to carry out his duties as Executor for Mary’s will, it came as no surprise that she had bequeathed a substantial estate to ‘general charitable purposes’.
Mary did not stipulate which charities were to receive the legacy, entrusting Ray with the important decisions of where to distribute their legacy.
“Springhill Hospice was an obvious choice” explained Ray. “Fred and Mary had supported the Hospice since its opening in 1989. Fred also helped to set up the first ever Springhill Hospice Golf Tournament, which is still running to this day. Making this donation to Springhill Hospice is something I know they would have wanted.”Other charities benefiting from Mary’s will include Bury based children’s hospice Grace’s Place, which caters for families in Rochdale as well as Bury and Oldham together with smaller amounts to local amateur sports clubs – Rochdale Golf Club, Rochdale RUFC, Rochdale Mayfield ARLFC and Norden Cricket Club.
Talking about the gift from Mary’s estate, Hospice Chief Executive, Julie Halliwell said
“£100,000 is a truly amazing legacy for patient care in the Borough. This is a very significant boost to funding needed to provide end-of-life care to people from our community. We might not be able to thank Mary ourselves but we can show our gratitude to Ray for choosing to support the work of our doctors and nurses through this amazing gift. Ray, Barbara and also June can be assured that we will use this donation wisely. We cannot add days to a patient’s life, however we can add quality of life to their final days, living life to the full, just as Fred and Mary did”.