Cynthia Spencer Hospice owes its origin to the formation of a Northampton committee which was set up in 1972 to provide cancer relief in Northamptonshire and to raise funds for continuing care. Under the inspired leadership of the late Dr Ben Jolles, by the end of 1975 the committee had raised enough funds to build an in-patient facility of 25 beds which was then opened by the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in May 1976.

At the time Cynthia Spencer Hospice was one of the first modern hospices in the country. The 7th Earl Spencer agreed to be Patron of the committee, and Cynthia Spencer House (as it was then called) was named after his late wife, Lady Cynthia Spencer DCVO OBE.

The Cynthia Spencer House Trust was set up to provide continued support for the unit, and in the next decade it led to a fundraising campaign to build a day unit which was opened by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1985. In 1990 the Friends of Cynthia Spencer Hospice were formed, to raise funds to support the Hospice patients and to raise the profile of the Hospice in the local community.

During the late 1990s it soon became clear that the facilities at the Hospice fell well below those needed to provide a modern and acceptable standard of care. The sale of part of the land on which the Hospice stood created a unique opportunity to develop new facilities.

The allocation of money from the sale of the land however fell short of the £10 million total project cost so a fundraising campaign for the balance of £1.5 million was launched. The people of Northamptonshire took the campaign to their hearts and generously donated the required amount and the new hospice building as we know it today was opened in 2005. 

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