Tributes to Welwyn Garden City hospice founder

A FOUNDING father and life chairman of the Isabel Hospice has died of heart problems, aged 96. Harry Overy was an instrumental figure in the progress of the hospice and was an extremely popular character in WGC.

A FOUNDING father and life chairman of the Isabel Hospice has died of heart problems, aged 96.

Harry Overy was an "instrumental figure" in the progress of the hospice and was an extremely popular character in WGC.

After a long advertising career, having owned his own business until the age of 59, and created some of the first commercials seen on TV, Harry turned his hand to fundraising during his retirement years.

He first got involved with the Isabel Hospice (Welwyn Hatfield Hospice Service - as it was known then), at the age of 70, after he joined the Social Liberal Democrats.


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There he met Isabel Last, who became ill with cancer and helped set up the hospice.

From then onwards he was continuously at the heart of everything the hospice did, according to vice-president Barbara Doherty.

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She said: "He was the founding chairman from 1982 until 1991.

"He was instrumental in landing funds, very good at recruiting supporters and very good at working with the local media.

"He was instrumental during the early years and I don't think the hospice would be in the position it is today without him."

The Parkway resident, was made an MBE in 1989, in recognition of his charity work.

Barbara added: "Harry was a tremendous man, very intelligent and forthright.

"He will be sorely missed and as the hospice grows we owe so much to the original trustees."

Born on October 5, 1912, with the lower part of his left arm missing, in Bow, East London, he was brought up in Bethnal Green and was the youngest of eight children.

During World War Two, Harry served as a fire warden in the City of London during the Blitz.

He also acted for the prison service and said if you could write copy to recruit prison officers you could write anything!

Daughter Louise Overy said on behalf of the family: "Mum and dad were always interested in travel - particularly to islands, and loved Scotland and Cornwall.

"They had a very happy marriage and he never gave up trying to help her through her current illness.

"We are so lucky to have had such a smashing dad around for so many years."

Harry leaves son Bob from his first marriage, and Louise, Stephen, Margaret and Nick, from his second.

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