'I gave it my life' - Hospice charity founder quits amid 'bullying' claims

Jenny Beesley, Chairman of the East Coast Hospice. Picture: James Bass

Jenny Beesley is stepping down as chairman of East Coast Hospice. - Credit: James Bass

The founder of a hospice charity has resigned as chairman citing ill-heath and "bullying."

Jenny Beesley made the announcement via the East Coast Hospice's Facebook page while proclaiming the much-needed hospice would be built, but without her at the helm.

She said she had given the charity her "heart and soul 24/7".

The statement said: "During the last year, I have been poorly and am not getting any younger.

"Since my Bell’s Palsy last August, I have not made the progress I would have hoped for.

"With the bullying and harassment from certain quarters, I cannot continue.

"I owe my family more. It is time for me to put them, and myself, first.

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I want to thank all the wonderful staff and the support of our trustees, without you all I could not have achieved what I have done.

The hospice will be built with your support."

Mrs Beesley set up the charity in 2008 and returned after a break in 2013.

She said: "I have walked away. My job is done. I know that the trustees will continue. They are good people.

"I gave it my life."

She said there was no relief in quitting her role, adding: "It is a sad part of my life."

Her resignation comes as former supporters of the bid to build Margaret Chadd House on the Gorleston/Hopton border in Sidegate Road raised concerns about the slow progress of fundraising.

Published accounts for the year 2019/2020 show the charity lost money, with its string of shops costing more to run than they made.

At the time Mrs Beesley admitted it had been a bad year topped off by Covid, but said she remained determined to make the hospice dream a reality for the benefit of the people of Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

She said she would continue to support the appeal and its lottery and remained committed to the ambition of having an independent hospice.

Her resignation drew a raft of comments from well-wishers hailing her hard work over many years.

People said she had been "amazing" but had made the right decision for the sake of her health and her family.