June’s Legacy

It was June and Willie Sayce’s family solicitor who planted the seed for what would become an incredible lasting legacy for the philanthropic husband and wife and a lifeline for local children and families.

Acorns Children’s Hospice had been searching for a new home in Worcester, and June and Willie were inspired to act, donating land that would grow into the Acorns for the Three Counties we know today.

The generous local couple had been approached numerous times over the years by developers with offers for their plot. But selling the precious land the family had farmed for years wasn’t an option for them.

The timing was perfect for June and Willie and in learning of Acorns plans, long discussions led to the couple donating paddocks they used for keeping donkeys behind their home in Bath Road to the charity. Worcester businessman and fellow philanthropist Cecil Duckworth CBE agreed to buy the frontage land and the sites were brought together to enable construction on Acorns third hospice site to begin in 2001.

Part of the Acorns family

Sadly, just weeks after the project commenced, Willie passed away. But June continued to take pride and pleasure from watching the progress of the project as it fulfilled their shared dream. The joy continued when the hospice was finally opened in 2005 and June was a frequent visitor, taking part in many of our celebrations and events.

Newspaper article. Heading reads 'Joy for June as Willie's dream comes true.' Image in the article is June with a donkey

Mrs June Sayce was truly a part of the Acorns family playing a pivotal role alongside husband Willie in enabling us to establish a hospice in Worcester. As the facility became a home from home for thousands of local families, June celebrated each of its birthdays in June, joining our colleagues and volunteers to mark the occasion.

And who can forget Sally and Dotty, the beloved donkeys June saved and nurtured, who too became part of the family and loved by everyone at Acorns. They were a key feature of June’s life and lived out their days in their paddock right next door to our hospice much to the joy of children and families.

In fact, June often remarked how seeing the delight and wonder on the children’s faces as the beloved animals stretched their necks over to greet them, was one that would remain with her always.

Duchess of Gloucester meets June
June meeting the Duchess of Gloucester

June was constantly involved with Acorns

As June sadly became more frail, Three Counties colleagues felt privileged to support her, taking lunch for her each day. She was always interested to hear the latest news from the hospice and right up until her passing, she enjoyed laughing, joking and sharing tales with her family at Acorns.

June sadly died in October 2017 after many years of helping us to make every day count for local life limited and life threatened children and their families – all born from her love and generosity which still enables us to provide our lifeline care and support. She truly epitomised what it means for someone to experience the joy of giving and without June and Willie, Acorns for the Three Counties would not be the special place it is today.

June and Sally the donkey
June and Sally the donkey
Lord Lichfield lays foundation stone with Cecil Duckworth and June Sayce
Lord Lichfield lays foundation stone with Cecil Duckworth and June
June outside the completed Worcester hospice
June outside the completed Worcester hospice