Duchy Health Charity

Cornwall’s leading grant giving health charity for the promotion of health and wellbeing
and the prevention of sickness in Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly

Founders of healthcare and wellbeing related initiatives
can apply for grants to help reach their objectives


Posted on 14 February 2019

A much loved and dedicated Duchy Health Charity Trustee, Mary Grigg, sadly passed away on 30 December 2018, after a short illness, leaving behind her devoted husband, Russell, as well as lasting  memories for all of those fortunate to have known her as colleague or friend.

Mary was a keen fundraiser and responsible for events and activities that produced the necessary funds in the late ‘70’s to build Cornwall’s first private hospital.  In 1990, the hospital was sold to a Hospital Group who had the resources to be able to modernise the facilities and invest in the future of the hospital.  The money raised from the sale was placed into a Trust Fund to support the health and wellbeing of all the people of Cornwall, at which point Duchy Health Charity was born. 

Mary Grigg was subsequently appointed as a Trustee, in November 1994, soon after the Charity was formed.

On Monday 28 January 2019 Tracie North, Vice Chair, Carol O’Brien and Aldyth Hambly-Staite, both Trustees,  represented the Charity at a Memorial Service held in Illogan Parish Church, Mary’s home for most of her life.

Our present Chair, Dr Barbara Vann asked Trustees to describe their own special feelings about this amazing lady:

‘I love her for her generosity of spirit’, said Duchy Health Charity President, Michael Galsworthy.

‘I will always remember that smile – it was infectious’, said Scott Bennett.

‘I admired her common sense – but I always smile when her IT skills let her down – ‘Mark, my computer breaks down every time I try to download the agenda – please send me a paper one!’.

One of the recent highlights of her life, and mentioned in the Service, was her attendance, with other Trustees at our Patron, HRH the Duke of Cornwall’s 70th Birthday Celebrations on 22 May 2018, at Buckingham Palace – and Meghan’s first public appearance after the Royal Wedding.

Mary looked amazing in regal blue silk and matching hat and was determined to get front-line views of the Royal Party as they moved into the Tea Tent with the massed orchestra of ukuleles played ‘Ying Tong Yiddle I Po’. She was particularly excited when one of the Royal Aides of the day turned out to be Cornwall’s own Lord Lieutenant, Colonel Edward Bolitho whom she admired greatly.

Tim Guy, who was at her side, remembered her utter dismay when, after sitting in a prime location close to the Royal Entrance, newcomers edged their way into her sight-line and after some elbow-nudging we knew who would win. Not a voice was raised!

Tracie also remembers that day well for other reasons – Mary had taken some of the Trustees up in her fast BMW and was in good time to celebrate, with a glass of Champagne at the Rubens Hotel, kindly offered by Michael Galsworthy before the short walk to the Palace gates.

‘The journey home began at 4.40pm and finally ended at 1am, having delivered Barbara and I back to our respective homes, firstly at Gorran and then Carnon Downs. The Sat Nav took us down every conceivable narrow lane between the two but I got to know her then and shared our joint love of our Mother County’.

‘We must always remember her for realising a significant sum of money when we recently sold a Barbara Hepworth, a Patrick Heron and pots by Janet Leach and William Marshall. These were items kindly donated by the artists as part of the fund raising programme to build the Duchy Hospital and had been displayed there for nearly 30 years.

She felt that these should be brought back into the Charity and was instrumental in realising this ambition. Mark Williams, Secretary and Treasurer, has suggested that the amount raised should be put towards a special project of which she would approve.

One final story sums up her Cornish spirit and her wicked ways; travelling back late from an event ‘up country’, without realising it, she was travelling rather fast in the aforementioned BMW. Flashing blue lights swept up behind her and a young policeman asked her to roll down the window.

‘Do you know what speed you were doing Ma’am? You were travelling at over 100mph’ and he began writing down her offence.

‘You look a strong young man, I bet you have played rugger for a Cornish team?’

‘Yes Ma’am I played for Redruth’.

‘Then you will know my husband, Russell Grigg’… and without further ado he tore up the slip he was writing and said ’Please go on your way – gently though!’

That cheeky smile will remain with us forever.

Duchy Health Charity Award for Excellence 2023

On Wednesday 21 February, one of our Associates, Tim Guy, attended the University of Exeter…

Mary Grigg Award: Duchy Health Charity Enablement Awards

A student of the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has become the first recipient of…

Duchy Health Charity Awards 2022

In December 2021 we reported on the University of Exeter’s Peninsula Medical School award to…

Skip to content