St Albans charity founder pens inspirational autobiography

PUBLISHED: 11:14 11 October 2018

Dr Mary Groves. Picture: Kath Pezet

Dr Mary Groves. Picture: Kath Pezet


The founder of a St Albans palliative care charity has recounted her life story in a new book.

Dr Mary Groves. Picture: Kath Pezet Dr Mary Groves. Picture: Kath Pezet

Dr Mary Groves, co-founder of Rennie Grove Hospice Care, has written her autobiography, Doctor on a Mission, in order to inspire others to do charitable work.

The 88-year-old has led a varied life - growing up in County Durham during World War Two and studying medicine at Newcastle, before moving to west Africa in 1957.

There, Dr Groves worked at Sierra Leone’s Nixon Memorial Hospital, becoming an obstetrician and paediatrician at aged 26.

On her return to the UK in 1970, Dr Groves lived first in Bedford and then St Albans, becoming a GP at Midway Surgery in 1979.

Dr Mary GrovesDr Mary Groves

Around that time the wheels had been set in motion to establish the St Albans City and District Hospice Care Team home volunteer group, which was destined to evolve into Grove House around a decade later.

Tragically, Dr Groves was given a personal reason to value the service when her first husband, minister Sidney Groves, passed away from cancer in 1986, surrounded by family at home.

She said: “I had a very interesting life and a number of people said to me I should write about it, and my reply was always ‘I don’t want to show off or bring attention to myself’, but then they said ‘It might inspire people do to the same’.”

Five years ago, Grove House merged with Rennie Hospice at Home to make the umbrella charity thousands of people rely on today.

Marrying another minister called Colin Rowe in 1997, Dr Groves has been awarded an MBE for services to the community in St Albans and Sierra Leone,

She has also been involved with St Albans and District Churches Housing Association, now the Open Door Trust; the St Albans and District Bereavement Network; and the Hatfield Road Methodist Church.

Commenting on her Christianity, Dr Groves noted: “I believe there is a spirit that inspires people to get up and do something that is worthwhile and it is that spirit that has given me guidance and strength do to everything I have done. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the St Albans community, and if I have helped people, that is the thing that makes me feel proud.”

Buy the book at Rennie Grove charity shops in St Albans and Harpenden, at Midway Surgery, or online at

More news stories


It’s said to be the most wonderful time of the year, but is it really for everyone?


Tickets have gone on sale for an annual Hertfordshire music festival at a special discounted price.


More than 100 children in St Albans will be homeless this Christmas, according to housing charity Shelter.


Court results published by the Herts Ad are taken from St Albans, Stevenage and Hatfield Magistrates Court and are published without prejudice.


I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

Digital Edition

Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition
Zoo Watch CountryPhile

Newsletter Sign Up

Herts Advertiser weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read stories

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards