Tributes paid to Corby hospice founder

Vic Hardy
Vic Hardy

The man who helped build Corby’s first ever cancer care centre has died at the age of 98.

Legend Vic Hardy spent almost 30 years of his life fundraising to open and then help run Lakelands Hospice in Butland Road.

Corby's Lakelands Hospice hold their Light Up a Life ceremony with Fiona Castle, widow of entertainer Roy Castle, charity co-founder Vic Hardy and Paul Marlow from the centre. ENGNNL00120121214162034

Corby's Lakelands Hospice hold their Light Up a Life ceremony with Fiona Castle, widow of entertainer Roy Castle, charity co-founder Vic Hardy and Paul Marlow from the centre. ENGNNL00120121214162034

Along with co-founders Ray Burke and cancer patient Jean Clark he raised the £1m needed to open the centre, spending thousands of hours rattling tins in Corby supermarkets and holding events.

He died at Kettering General Hospital on Tuesday (March 19) after his health deteriorated.

Friend and head of fundraising at Lakelands Hospice Paul Marlow said: “We are heartbroken and so incredibly sad to announce that our remaining founder trustee Vic Hardy has sadly passed away aged 98.

“Words can’t express how we are feeling today and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Corby Carnival: Corby: Corby Carnival parade'Paul Marlow with Vic Hardy from Lakelands Hospice'Saturday 12th July 2014 NNL-140713-182156009

Corby Carnival: Corby: Corby Carnival parade'Paul Marlow with Vic Hardy from Lakelands Hospice'Saturday 12th July 2014 NNL-140713-182156009

“It was very fitting that, as his health deteriorated, he became a hospice patient and benefitted from the service he did so much for to provide for our community.”

Vic was game for a laugh and up for anything for a photo. See our picture gallery of Vic’s fundraising efforts here.

Originally from Peterborough, Vic fought in the Second World War before working at the steelworks in the buying department.

He became involved with Lakelands in 1989 after the Grampian Bowls Club, of which he was president, donated money to the appeal.

After the hospice opened Vic was made an MBE in 2002 for his charitable efforts.

Last year he was named as one of Corby’s ‘Living Legends’ but he always put the success of the hospice down to the community.

Speaking to the Evening Telegraph in 2011 to mark the 10-year anniversary of the hospice, he said: “With no major patron, the success of Lakelands is due entirely to the way our community took our cause to its heart and adopted us as its own.”

Within its first 10 years the hospice grew from a day centre to a facility that offered many services including physiotherapy, bereavement counselling, heart failure, respite care and the Hospice at Home facility.

To this day Lakelands Hospice helps hundreds of people a year.

But none of it would have been possible without the input of Vic, Ray and Jean.

Mr Marlow said: “A true legend of a man who is loved and respected by so many people, his dedication and passion was felt throughout our community and I’m sure everyone will have their own tale to tell.

“It was Vic’s wishes that we celebrate his life and his achievements and do not mourn his passing for long but continue to uphold his legacy which is Lakelands Hospice, nothing would make him prouder.”

In 1992 the ET joined the Lakelands appeal and helped bring in £400,000 over three years.

Reporter Brian Dodds, who covered the appeal at the time, said Vic will be missed.

He said: “He had a good sense of purpose and could get things done quietly and effortlessly.

“Vic was a very, very likeable man who was principled, giving, generous and had a nice sense of humour.

“I am very sorry to hear he has passed away. He was a person Corby could be proud of.”

There will be a book of celebration in the hospice reception for people to write a message in memory of the inspirational Vic.

In accordance with Vic and his family’s wishes donations in lieu of flowers can be made at the hospice itself or online at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/VicHardy.