Hampstead grandmother raises £500k for hospice with 28 years of letters

Prolific letter writer Helen Bloom has raised £500,000 for North London Hospice

Prolific letter writer Helen Bloom has raised £500,000 for North London Hospice - Credit: North London Hospice

A tireless fundraiser from Hampstead has single-handedly raised half a million pounds for her local hospice, thanks to the power of her pen.

For nearly 30 years, grandmother of three Helen Bloom has handwritten hundreds of annual appeal letters to her generous friends, asking them to donate to North London Hospice.

The 84-year-old wrote her first letter in 1994, following the death of her uncle on a hospital ward.

“It wasn’t the peaceful, dignified death we all hope for,” she said. “I had joined the Mill Hill and Totteridge Support Group to fundraise to build North London Hospice, and their vision of a peaceful end to life is exactly what I would have wanted for my uncle.”

Having been a businesswoman for many years, Helen decided to write to her contacts and use her powers of persuasion to ask them to donate what they could.

“When I started my personal annual appeal, never in a million years did I think I would raise £500,000. I feel so proud of this achievement. Apart from bringing up my children, it’s one of the proudest moments of my life.”

Helen’s endeavours over 28 years have helped fund numerous projects at North London Hospice, including a new kitchen at its Finchley site, an ambulance and a Health and Wellbeing Centre in Enfield.

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The hospice cares for more than 3,500 people reaching the end of their life each year.

In 2021, Helen had personal experience of the services it provides when her beloved husband was cared for by its nurses.

“My husband was in a nursing home and when I arrived to see him one day, there was a nurse from the hospice caring for him," she said. "I’ve known for years what an incredible, warm, friendly charity the hospice is, but her presence made me truly grateful as I was experiencing the wonderful patient care for the first time.”

In 1994 Helen’s first annual appeal raised £7,000 and over the years the figure has grown to reach £63,000 in 2021.

Does she plan to put down her pen now she has reached such an incredible £500,000 milestone?

“I shall keep going…who knows maybe I can reach £750,000," she said.