PROLIFIC fundraising work undertaken by Judy Bailey is captured in a new book about one of the country’s first children’s hospices.

Judy, from Knutsford, helped raise more than £2 million for Francis House Children’s Hospice in Didsbury, south Manchester.

Her amazing story is told in ‘A Worthwhile Error’, written by freelance journalist Andy Buckley.

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Judy organised summer concerts and balls at various Cheshire venues for many years.

The mum-of-three said: “I remember one year the police agreed to take the cash we’d raised to deposit overnight in their safe at Knutsford police station.

“There was around £28,000 and the superintendent rang me up on the Sunday morning and said: ‘I think you better come and get your money pretty fast because we’re only insured for £7,000 to £8,000,’ so I went to pick it up.

“I feel privileged to have been involved.

"It was wonderful and I miss it.

“I was just a normal mum with a lot of friends. We just created this and every year came back to do the same.”

Knutsford Guardian: Princess Diana signing the visitor book at Francis House, watched by Sister Aloysius FMSJ, on the front cover of the new bookPrincess Diana signing the visitor book at Francis House, watched by Sister Aloysius FMSJ, on the front cover of the new book (Image: Francis House Children's Hospice)

Fundraising balls and concerts were held at Tatton Park, Arley Hall and and the Belfry at Handforth.

‘A Worthwhile Error’ was the phrase coined by co-founder Sister Aloysius FMSJ to describe the decision to build the hospice with hardly any money.

Her gamble paid off thanks to the overwhelming generosity of donors and the first children’s hospice in the north-west was duly built from a convent.

Some 16 religious Sisters sacrificed their home so that much-needed respite care could be provided for youngsters with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.

More than 1,500 families have received help since the charity first opened its doors late in 1991, when Princess Diana performed the official opening.

Chief executive David Ireland has been with the hospice since the start. His first involvement was as an architect, designing the building.

David said: “The book is an in-depth look at the rich history of Francis House.

“It shares the stories of the many personalities involved including, most importantly, the wonderful families who have passed through our doors.”

The glossy hardback book also details how Francis House has helped sick children across the world.

It has inspired several countries establish hospice facilities, including Japan, Australia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Belarus, Canada, USA, Czech Republic and Latvia.

‘A Worthwhile Error – The History of Francis House Children’s Hospice’ is available for £19.95 (plus postage and packing) by calling the hospice on 0161 434 4118 or from

All proceeds will be donated to the care of children, young people and their families.