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Anne Gardner MBE, founder of local catering charity, passes away aged 86

The Crumbs Project, which provides ‘training for independence’ pre-employment programmes for mixed ability adults, was founded by Anne in 1997. The concept arose from home, when her daughter was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at age 17. During a time when long-term stay in mental hospital was often normal, Anne identified a need for adults in long-stay care to have a pattern to their day, a skill at their fingertips and something to talk about.

‘I wanted to create a social, safe place for adults suffering with mental health and later, learning disabilities and stabilised addiction problems to thrive’ – Anne Gardner

Anne’s caring spirit and selfless concern for others was evident right from the start. Having trained at Guy’s hospital from 1949 to 1953, Anne went on to volunteer as hospital manager at St Ann’s for about ten years before creating Crumbs.

Having recently celebrated its 20th birthday, The Crumbs Project has significantly boosted catering sales and helped their trainees to secure employment. Without a doubt, Anne’s resilience and energising passion helped lead the project to triumph.

Her substantial work was duly recognised with an MBE in the Birthday Honours in 2008 for services to mental health. She was also appointed as life president of The Crumbs Project at the end of last year, where the charity’s chairman Douglas Eyre presented Anne with a painting of a seagull- a memento of the book ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ which she associated with her daughter Liz, and was the inspiration behind her starting the charity.

Douglas Eyre, the Chair of Crumbs comments on behalf of the charity.
‘Anne, through her founding of Crumbs, has literally made a difference to hundreds of lives helping folks with special challenges in life towards greater independence. A strong, determined character who knew exactly what she wanted! But with a heart of gold, a keen sense of humour and always, even when struggling with great physical problems herself, a very graceful lady. She was also a dedicated family person and our thoughts and prayers are with George and her family.’ – Douglas Eyre

Anne will be greatly missed but never forgotten. The Crumbs Project will continue to support her legacy of caring for others in her memory.


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