THE legacy of an inspirational North-East woman is being celebrated in an exhibition at a local hospice.

As national Hospice Care Week gets under way, the Butterwick Hospice at Stockton has created a ‘Memories of Mary’ exhibition to celebrate the work of Mary Butterwick who sold her family home to establish the Butterwick Hospice 30 years ago.

Mary died three years ago and people have been asked to provide items and memories they have in remembrance of her, that will be stored in a glass cabinet in the foyer of the Stockton site, with plans to create a similar one at the Bishop Auckland site.

The exhibition will change as new things are added, and the public are invited to come and view the contributions during public opening hours of 9am to 5pm.

Chair of Governors, Judith Hunter, said at the unveiling: “Mary was a personal source of great strength to me, and it’s fitting that we are doing this, this week, three years after Mary’s death. We will always remember her, and we’re very grateful to be able to gather together some of Mary’s things for a permanent display.”

Also on display is a picture Mary bought when she made her covenant to God about establishing the original hospice after her husband, John, died. She bought 10 Hartburn Lane, Stockton – a run-down Victorian semi that was converted into a day care hospice in John’s name.

Today, there is a hospice in Stockton and two on the same site in Bishop Auckland, for adults and children, serving the local communities, as Mary wished.

Mary’s daughter, Julia, said: “Mum felt so guilty and angry about the way my dad, and the family, were treated when he was in hospital with a brain tumour. After he died, she was galvanised to set up something where patients and their families could be cared for and guided through their final moments together.

“So many people have so many memories of my mum, it’s lovely that there’s going to be a permanent reminder of her.”