Leon Crouch Foundation pledges £850,000 to Oakhaven Hospice
A HUGE donation has been made to Oakhaven Hospice from a charity set up in memory of Lymington industrialist Leon Crouch.
More than two years after his death, his daughters have agreed £850,000 for the facility in Pennington.
Hannah Leonardi, Lara Crouch and Louise Roles presented a cheque for £550,000 from the Leon Crouch Foundation, and have pledged a further £300,000 to plug a gap in funding.
A former patron of Oakhaven, Leon spent the last few days of his life in the hospice before dying of cancer aged 70 in September 2019.
He also left a £50,000 legacy to the charity, and in his lifetime supported many other good causes including Lymington hospital’s League of Friends.
Hannah said: “Oakhaven always remained a cause very close to our father’s heart. Therefore it was a fitting place for him to spend his last few days.
“It gives me and my sisters great pleasure to make this donation so that Oakhaven may continue to touch the lives of so many local people.
“We feel incredibly proud of our father’s commitment to helping others beyond his lifetime – even in death he was thinking about how he could continue to help the town that he grew up in and loved.”
The hospice has annual running costs of about £5m but receives just 14% through statutory income, so it must raise the rest in donations. In 2020 it made a desperate appeal for financial help as the pandemic shut down its charity shops and fundraising activities.
Andrew Ryde, Oakhaven’s chief executive, said it was “incredibly grateful” to Leon for his contribution.
“This generous donation will assist us with the expansion of our services,” he said.
“It will help towards increasing our bedded provision to ensure that we can continue to meet the need of the community for end-of-life support here at the hospice.
“It will also help us to develop a dedicated education facility to support carers and healthcare professionals to provide the best level of end-of-life care for all.”
Well-known in the town for his rags-to-riches life story, Leon was a multi-millionaire famed across the New Forest for his business exploits.
He founded the Fuller’s Group of engineering firms and battled with planners to create the Gordleton Industrial Estate.
A passionate supporter of Southampton Football Club, he was a popular figure among fans who heralded him as the club’s saviour when it hit financial troubles in 2007.
Leon ploughed in his own money – reportedly up to £500,000 – when the club’s very existence was threatened, and paid some of the players’ wages. His involvement led to him serving for two brief spells as chair in 2008 and 2009.
Funding for the care of one in four patients at Oakhaven is attributed to gifts in wills. Anyone wishing to leave money to the charity should visit www.oakhavenhospice.co.uk/legacy