- Categories: 21st Century
Janet Hosier, who died in 2008, was a champion of the homeless and co-founded New Hope . She was instrumental in reaching out to Watford’s homeless population through the work of the charity, which she formed with her friend Sheila Meaning in 1990. She devoted her time and energy to providing food, clothing and shelter to the town’s disadvantaged people – her “mission of compassion”. Her son, Craig Borlase, said: “I am so proud of her – so proud of the fact that while I miss her desperately as a son, there is an army of us out there whose lives she touched with equal love, grace, warmth and generosity. Grandmother, sister, mother-in-law, wife, aunt, friend, colleague, quick-smiling stranger and easy confidant – our loss takes form out of a thousand different memories.”
Described as a “pioneer” for her work among the homeless, New Hope began when Janet and Sheila started serving hot food from two coaches that stood in Whippendell Road, where the Haven Support Centre can be found today.
Janet was also involved in fundraising and public relations, and she spoke to churches, companies and individuals about the New Hope Trust’s work.
Through her efforts, New Hope House opened in 1993 and their charity shop a year later. As a founding trustee, Janet also oversaw the development of nine other services that continue to provide invaluable support for Watford’s homeless population.
As the charity grew, she continued to work as a volunteer at the Support Centre and The Sanctuary night shelter, where she was always willing to give up her time to those who needed it.
And even when her illness confined her to a wheelchair, she would be “walked” down from the Peace Hospice through the town to talk with people she would meet in the high street and to offer them encouragement.
Janet also became an author, when she published her autobiography, Entertaining Angels, in 2007. The book documented her remarkable life, from her reliance on God to help her through relationship breakdowns, to coping as a single parent and remarriage, and the story of New Hope.
Sheila said: “Janet was the easiest person to be with. She was a very caring lady, a lady who went out of her way. Her thoughts were always with someone else who needed help or support, no matter what it took. She was loved by everybody. I feel like I’ve lost my right arm. A big part of me has gone. It was a marriage made in heaven.”