Memories of a full life committed to her beloved Cornwall

Posted on February 14 2019

Memories of a full life committed to her beloved Cornwall

A much loved and dedicated Duchy Health Charity Trustee, Mary Grigg, sadly passed away on 30th 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.  For reasons described elsewhere on this site under ‘History’ the property was sold to a Hospital Group in 1990 because they were better able to modernise the facilities. The money raised was placed into a Trust Fund to support the health and wellbeing of all the people of Cornwall. She was appointed Trustee in November 1994, soon after the Charity was formed.

On Monday 28 January 2019 Tracie North, DHC Vice Chair, Carol O’Brien and Aldyth Hambly-Staite, both Trustees,  represented the Charity at a Memorial Service held in Illogan Parish Church, her 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 DHC 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 DHC’s Patron,  HRH the Duke of Cornwall for his 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 Iddle 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 in 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 Vann, DHC Chair, and me 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 loves 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 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 doing a ’ton’ in the aforesaid BMW. Flashing blue lights swept up behind her and the young burly policeman asked her to roll down the window,

‘Do you know what speed you are 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.



Click below to read the previous news.