Conch Shell House opens for good cause

The newly-restored popular tourist attraction, the Conch Shell House on North Sound Road, was declared open Thursday night.

Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford and Minister of Health Anthony Eden cut the ribbon pronouncing the Conch Shell House officially open

Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford and Minister of Health Anthony Eden cut the ribbon pronouncing the Conch Shell House officially open as new owners George and Susan Craig look on. Photo: Anna Wootton

At the grand opening, invited guests enjoyed catering from the Wharf and steel pan music courtesy of Earl LaPierre.

George and Susan Craig, the new owners of the house, were applauded by guests and speakers including Tourism Minister Charles Clifford and Health Minister. Anthony Eden.

The Craigs purchased the house, restored it beautifully, and donated 60 per cent of the house to Cayman HospiceCare, where Mrs. Craig serves as a board member.

‘Conch Shell House has such an interesting Caymanian history that it makes a perfect new home for Cayman HospiceCare which provides such an important service to the Cayman community,’ Mrs. Craig said.

‘George and I are so pleased to assist Hospice Care in this way, and encourage others to support them in any way possible.’

Their generosity was thanked and encouraged by Mr. Eden in his remarks.

‘This exceptional partnership between a private and a non-profit organisation is admirable and it is a great example of how the private sector can support charitable organisations,’ said Mr. Eden.

‘I encourage more members of our community as well as other organisations to follow the Conch Shell House example and I congratulate once more, all who have made this ‘happening’ possible.’

The remainder of the house is dedicated to BlueEyes Granite, the Craigs’ new business, which sells and installs a large variety of granite pieces in houses, offices and other locations.

The couple’s generosity did not stop at donating space to Cayman HospiceCare. A door prize of a granite table with a retail value of CI$1,975 was donated by BlueEyes Granite. The table ended up being quite the fundraiser.

Winner Greg Link kindly offered the table back for auction, with the proceeds being donated to Cayman HospiceCare. Bruce Putterill, Chairman of the Cayman HospiceCare Board, won the auction with a $1,500 bid.

However, Mr. Putterill then donated it to Cayman HospiceCare, which auctioned it off once again. It then bought by Iain MacLean, Project Manager at Raleigh Gardens Ltd., for $1,000 who followed previous examples and donated it back once again to Cayman HospiceCare.

Eventually, volunteer and long-time Cayman HospiceCare supporter Carolyn Parker bought it for $1,000. All in all, the table had raised $3,500.

Other donations were also given during the night’s festivities.

Peter Broadhurst decided to sponsor the Christmas gift-wrapping fundraiser that Cayman HospiceCare runs yearly. The organizations was extremely grateful for the $2,500 sponsorship, said Jennifer Grant-McCarthy, Fundraising Coordinator for Cayman HospiceCare

The evening was full of fun and celebration, while the generosity of the Craigs was never forgotten.

‘We want to earnestly say thank you, thank you, thank you,’ said Mrs. Grant-McCarthy.

Mr. Putterill echoed this sentiment.

‘The space and its refurbishments were all donated by the Craigs and the HospiceCare Board is appreciative of the Craigs’ unwavering commitment to the organization.

‘The Conch Shell House is ideal as the hub for HospiceCare. Not only is it suitable for the running of the organisation, we also plan on having social gatherings and fundraising events here. The warm and comfortable environment makes the Conch Shell House a great location all round.’

In his remarks, Mr. Clifford said the house would still be a welcome tourist attraction.

It is also possible, he said, that tourists will have experienced hospice in some way themselves and will wish to donate.

Manager of Cayman HospiceCare, John Borgwardt, made some comments regarding the purpose of hospice.

‘Many people associate hospice with death and dying,’ said Mr. Borgwardt. ‘But in a way it is also about living, and living without pain or discomfort.

‘We believe every human has the right to help and support at the end of their life.’

For more information or to donate to Cayman HospiceCare, please call 945-7447 or contact Jennifer Grant-McCarthy at 926-2761.