St Albans Waitrose staff rally together after tragic cancer loss

Robert Payne, Michael Payne, community matters rep Georgie Durbin, Lesley Freeman, Patricia Millward

Robert Payne, Michael Payne, community matters rep Georgie Durbin, Lesley Freeman, Patricia Millward from Marie Curie, Mount Vernon fundraiser Liz Hizli - Credit: Archant

The loss of long-serving staff member Sally Ann Payne from cancer earlier this year prompted her colleagues at Waitrose in St Albans to rally around in support of her husband Robert.

When they learned that Sally Ann’s last request was that money should be raised in her memory to contribute to the Marie Curie Day Ward at Mount Vernon Hospital where she was treated, they were more than happy to support her family and put their hands in their pockets.

And thanks to their efforts as well as contributions to the Waitrose Community Matters scheme, donations at Sally Ann’s funeral and a fundraising event held by her son’s partner Kim, nearly £1,400 was raised for a fund to install new chairs in the ward.

Nurse Patricia Millward said: “This is a fantastic amount and we are so grateful to the family for thinking of others at this sad time. Sally Ann was a lovely lady and we all remember her well. What a thoughtful gesture; we shall certainly spend this money wisely on the right type of chairs for the comfort of family and carers’.

Georgie Durbin, Waitrose St Albans Community Matters representative, added: “Waitrose is a family. Sally Ann worked here for 17 years and made many good friends along the way. Her friend, Lesley, whom she worked with for 13 years, became more closely connected when her son, Michael, and Kim, Lesley’s daughter, started dating.

The Marie Curie Day Ward has specialist chemotherapy chairs for the comfort of the patients who can be there for up to eight hours at a time. But family members and carers keeping a patient company have less comfortable chairs which is why the fund was set up.

To contribute to the chair fund, or to learn more about fundraising for Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, contact fundraiser Liz Hizli on 07789 638391, 0203 826 2517 or

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