Sunderland war hero donates almost £230,000 to city hospice

A former Second World War navigator has left a huge donation to a Sunderland hospice and it is set to help hundreds of people a year.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 4:57 pm

Addie Vandervelde, who flew on Halifax bombers, was not just a hero between 1939 and 1945 when he saw service in the air force. He became a shining light once more this year – two years after his death.

He gifted St. Benedict’s Hospice in Ryhope just under £230,000 in his will and officials at the hospice admitted they were ‘overwhelmed’.

They said the huge boost for the hospice came at a time when it had to cancel some of its biggest fundraising events because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Chair of the hospice Board of Trustees Derek Moss said the timing could not have been better.

“As we all know, the past 12 months have been very difficult for charities, big and small, with regards to raising money. More so ourselves who try to continue the great work we do, not only with end of life care but the respite care and outpatient services we offer to all the people in the Sunderland area.”

Mr Moss added: "Our shops and coffee shops have been closed for most of the past year and our big fundraising events have been cancelled so to find this amount of money coming to us at this time is quite overwhelming.”

Addie died in 2019 aged 95 and now that his estate has been settled, half of the residue has been gifted to the hospice in Ryhope to continue their great work in the area. That’s a total of just under £230,000.

Mr Vandervelde (second from left) pictured with a Halifax bomber during his Second World War service.

Mr Vandervelde had an adventurous and full life that saw him work in South Africa in the early 1900s before coming back to Sunderland to work in his father’s business.

During the Second World War, he became a navigator on Halifax bombers and then continued with the business after the war.

His friend and neighbour James Pace said: “Addie was a quiet man who had no close relatives in the area. His wife, who died some 20 years ago, was a nurse working in end of life care so he knew of the great work that goes on in the hospice.”

Mr Moss said: “I must give thanks to all of the people concerned with this donation from Mr Vandervelde, especially his neighbours who looked after him for many years and to Wendy Mustard from Richard Reed Solicitors who dealt with the administration of the estate in such a professional manner.

Chair of the Board of Trustees for the hospice, Derek Moss, who was 'overwhelmed' with the donation.

"The exceptional gift we have received from Mr Vandervelde will allow us to continue with our work in the Sunderland community caring for hundreds of local people every year.”

St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland offers free care, advice and support for patients, and their families, who have a life-limiting illness. It has provided specialist palliative care to the people of Sunderland and surrounding districts since 1984.

Anyone wanting to find out more about its work should visit its website at

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St Benedict's Hospice which has received a substantial donation from the will of Addie Vandervelde.

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St Benedict's Hospice.
St Benedict's Hospice which has received a donation from the will of Addie Vandervelde.