Our story begins in 1993 when Sara Lee was diagnosed with a rare cancer. She was determined to survive and began plotting her own care alongside medical treatment. Sara learnt about diet, relaxation and meditation, sourcing her own dietician and aromatherapist. With their help, she lived and worked through the next two years and spoke about how wonderful the therapies were. Sara wanted to help others with cancer to receive these therapies, which were difficult to source at the time and came at a cost.
Sara passed away in 1995, aged just 32 years old, but her vision lives on in The Sara Lee Trust which her parents, Sally and Jeremy Lee set up to allow others to experience what Sara had achieved, To live life to the full, in spite of the cancer within.
Our First Patron
In 1996, Professor Karol Sikora became our first Patron. Karol is a British physician, described as a leading world authority on cancer. Karol said, “Support from organisations like The Sara Lee Trust is for many people a vital component of being healed. There is much we have to learn about the best way to treat cancer but there is no doubt that this approach can be very beneficial."
In 2006, The Trust celebrated its 10th Anniversary and also gained support from comedian and actress, Jo Brand who became our second patron.
Over the years, Jo has supported our work in many ways, saying, "I am really proud to be able to help raise money for The Trust and make a difference for so many people in the local area”.
Legacy Gift left to The Trust
The Trust receives a legacy gift from Nicholas Turquand-Young, a family relative of Sara Lee in excess of £1 million securing the financial future of The Trust. This legacy was invested in services and assets to produce new long-term funding streams to support care delivery in the future
The Sara Lee Therapy Centre
In July 2017, The Sara Lee Therapy Centre in Sidley, Bexhill opened its doors.
The Centre was purpose-designed by local architects Pump House Designs on a no-fee basis and provided a calm oasis for complementary therapy care, counselling and group support. It’s location in Sidley was chosen to support people in the area who may struggle to reach The Trust’s other bases in St Leonards and Rye.
On 24 January 2017, Dr Jeremy Lee sadly passed away, aged 80, after battling dementia for a number of years. Jeremy was the medical director of St Michael’s Hospice for many years and is remembered across Hastings and Rother for his wonderful personality, compassion and dedication to his patients. He was passionate about The Trust and instrumental in its progress.
On 8th July 2022, Sally sadly passed away, aged 85, after working tirelessly until the end to support local people and their families.
Before her passing, she wrote a quote for the Trust's newsletter, in which, she said, "I am so very grateful for the efforts of all those involved in the Trust, both past and present in enabling us to support so many local people affected by life threatening illness. My direct day to day involvement is now coming to an end but I am delighted to say that my son Tim has recently joined our Board of Trustees and will continue to provide a link to Sara’s vision that has and will continue to guide us as we strive to support more people into the future."
New Hall Space
In March 2023, our renovated and expanded Therapy Centre opened its doors to service users. Now with two therapy rooms, two counselling rooms and two large group spaces, the Centre provides space to support more than double the number of people than before the pandemic.
The new building is highly eco-friendly, with air-source heating, solar panels and above-standard insulating materials. Lower running costs means more of our funding can go to support those in need.
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