Eckersley House is one of our ten ‘Homes from Home’ where we support families of sick children being treated at Leeds General Infirmary with a comfortable place to stay and a friendly ear to listen. Currently, it has 22 family bedrooms and one transplant flat, just a few minutes’ walk from the hospital. It is named after Robert Eckersley, who left a generous gift in his will to charity.
We recently caught up with Robert’s family to talk about how Eckersley House came to be and their incredible continued support since we took over and extended the ‘Home from Home’ in 1993. Dolores Halpern (previously Eckersley) said:
“My son, Simon Eckersley, had a chronic kidney disease and was frequently admitted to hospital from the age of two. It was so difficult and painful to have a child in hospital, but fortunately I was able to visit Simon every day. Sadly, this wasn’t the reality for many parents who had difficulty travelling long distances, financing hotels and travel, plus juggling caring for other family members.”
“In 1981 my husband, Robert, died of lung cancer and he left an amount of money to charity which he wanted me to decide on its use. I asked Simon’s paediatrician for some advice, and as soon as he mentioned building a ‘Home from Home’ I knew that was where this gift should go.”
“So, in 1984 Eckersley House opened, newly built in the grounds of St James Hospital in Leeds. The Duchess of Kent came to open the house and it was a very moving occasion. In 2010, Eckersley House relocated to Leeds General Infirmary and it increased in size to help more families.”
”Since then Eckersley House has helped thousands of families. When I see some of the letter of thanks from parents who have stayed at the house, they are proof of how important all the Sick Children’s Trust homes are to families suffering in so many ways.”
“Eckersley House is something very dear to me, and I am happy to say when I remarried in 1991 and moved to New York, my husband, Merril Halpern has also embraced our continued support of Eckersley House, as do my son, Simon, my daughter Louisa, and my stepsons Mark and Julian.”
A gift in your will, even a small percentage, can help us to keep families with a seriously ill child in hospital together for generations to come. Visit our webpage for more details on how to leave a gift in your will to The Sick Children’s Trust.