A hospice has marked its 37th anniversary by burying a time capsule in its grounds.

The time capsule was bought from prize money that Saint Francis Hospice child and family therapist Emily Gray was awarded by the Jack Petchey Foundation for her outstanding work supporting bereaved children.

Photos of people involved in Saint Francis Hospice, information about its services, a face mask and a copy of staff and volunteer newsletter Scoop were placed inside, along with photos and writing by bereaved children.

Emily said: “It is important for the children to have their work included into the capsule so their voice and experience of lockdown is shared.

“The pandemic impacted greatly on all of us and for children who were already grieving the loss of a loved one, they were experiencing even more loss during the pandemic.

“Not having the distraction of school and not being able to be with friends brought about feelings of confusion and anxiety for many children.

“Being able to express themselves and being heard during this time has been vital for young people.

“In the future, when the capsule is opened, we are hoping that people can learn more and learn from young peoples’ experience of loss during the pandemic.”

The hospice in Havering-atte-Bower - which supports people around east London and Essex, including in Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge - also presented long service awards to staff who have dedicated between five and 35 years to the charity at its anniversary celebration on July 23.

Supporters were also invited to a virtual thank you evening.

Chief executive Pam Court said: “Today is a very special day in the hospice’s history and it is our opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the hospice and enabled us to be there for local people who need our experienced care.

“When the time capsule is opened in years to come, it will give people an insight into what life was like at Saint Francis Hospice in 2020/21.

“The Covid-19 pandemic brought unprecedented changes, challenges and a funding crisis that no one could ever have foreseen.

“Yet despite everything, we have continued to reach out to care and support more people than ever.”

A time capsule was previously interred at the hospice in 2001 by former chaplain Rev. Stephen Henwood and former Havering Mayor Maisie Whitelock.