‘Beautiful’ proposals for a memorial garden and blue plaque to honor the legacy of St Clare’s Hospice

St Clare’s Hospice closed in 2019 after the charity that runs it went bankrupt, leaving the district without a dedicated inpatient palliative care service.

Health chiefs have since introduced improved home and community care and, in recent months, a new hospice-style facility at Haven Court on the site of South Tyneside District Hospital.

However, the plans have previously faced criticism, with campaigners calling for the return of palliative care services to St Clare’s Hospice building in Primrose Hill, Jarrow.

Register to our daily newsletter

The former St Clare Hospice, Jarrow.

Continue reading

Continue reading

Sandhaven Beach in South Shields was voted Britain’s very best beach by the Sunday Times Beach.

At a South Tyneside Council meeting on 30 June 2022, it was revealed that independent councilors from the parish of Primrose had submitted a bid to have a blue plaque installed next to St Clare’s hospice building.

This aimed to “recognize the importance of the community value of the building” which provided care services for decades, with a counter-motion asking all elected members to support the blue plaque nomination.

Although local councils supported the proposals, council leaders stressed that a final decision on the blue plaque nomination would be the subject of a separate process.

The former St Clare Hospice, Jarrow.

An amendment to the Council’s ruling Labor Group proposal for a ‘Garden of Remembrance’ also won support across the Council Chamber.

This prompted the local authority to hold talks with South Tyneside and the Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust as landowners to commemorate the site of the former St Clare’s Hospice.

Labor Councilor Geraldine Kilgour said discussions would focus on getting the community involved to build permanent memorials to the hospice and its origins, including a blue plaque system and memorial garden.

Cllr Kilgour told the meeting: “From the outset the Jarrow Constituency Labor Party has discussed the possibility of having some form of permanent memory.

“It’s not just for our loved ones who have passed, it’s also for their families and for everyone who cared for our loved ones, it’s very important that the community is involved.

“It is no coincidence that this has happened at this point, but I have taken it to the Trust’s Chief Executive and he feels it is timely for these discussions to begin in light of the opening of the Cedar Unit at Haven Court.”

Councilor David Francis, leader of the Greens group, also welcomed support for the amended motion.

“I know that in this chamber we sometimes agree to disagree, sometimes we disagree,” he said.

“But I think that’s a good example, the last line of changed text, that would include the blue plaque and the garden of remembrance.”

He added: “There’s no need for compromise and it’s a real win-win and I think that should be applauded.”

Councilor John Robertson, Independent Representative for Primrose Parish, welcomed the Labor Group’s proposal for the St Clare’s memorial garden, saying it was a “beautiful idea”.

The independent councilor added that an application had been submitted to council to register the St Clare building and land as common property.

Cllr Robertson continued: “The NHS Foundation Trust needs to get the message that they are not going to demolish the St Clare building, it’s not happening.”

After the vote, the amended motion, including the proposals for the blue plaque and memorial garden, was approved.

Councilor Tracey Dixon, Chair of the Council, and Councilor Joan Atkinson, Vice-Chair, abstained due to their involvement in the blue plaque application process.

South Tyneside Council introduced a formal blue plaque scheme in 2017, allowing the public to nominate an individual or building that they feel is important to the heritage and history of the borough.

The program will only collect up to three plaques each year and a final decision on the nomination of the St Clare site is expected at a later date.

Leave a Comment