Havering charity’s van named after wife of kind supporter

PUBLISHED: 13:58 23 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:14 23 May 2016

Brian Bracken donated enough money for Saint Francis Hospice to purchase a new van after one of theirs was stolen earlier this year

Brian Bracken donated enough money for Saint Francis Hospice to purchase a new van after one of theirs was stolen earlier this year


A hospice’s gratitude to a loyal supporter who donated funds for a replacement vehicle after one of its was stolen, saw volunteers name it after his late wife.

The missing Saint Francis Hospice retail van was found several months after it was taken from a driveway in Avon Road, Cranham, in January.

During its absence, co-opted member Brian Bracken from Brentwood, donated enough money to allow the hospice to buy a replacement vehicle.

Brian’s wife Ruth had cancer and was receiving treatment at Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford, when she was referred for care at the Havering-atte-Bower hospice, where she died on Boxing Day 2013.

He said: “Somebody came along and stole our van – which is a really bad thing to do – at the time the hospice needed it desperately because it was a busy time of the year and I thought that in memory of my wife, I could donate the money for the hospice to get a replacement van.

“The care given to my Ruth was just fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble and she was just made to feel special all the 
way through her stay at the hospice.”

The charity’s volunteer drivers name their vehicles and the new Ford Transit Luton double wheelbase model that Brian’s donation paid for has been named The Lady Ruth, after his wife.

The van also carries inscriptions dedicating the vehicle to Ruth Bracken on its doors.

Michelle Nicholls, general manager of retail at the hospice, said: “It is being used for the collection of furniture, house clearances and to deliver stock to our shops.

“We are extremely grateful for Brian’s amazing gift and it’s lovely to see that a horrible event like the theft of one of our vans can have a happy ending.”

For more information go to

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Romford Recorder. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Romford Recorder