The partners and staff of Gaby Hardwicke Solicitors have a long tradition of advising and supporting charities. Our 2020 Charity of the Year is The Sara Lee Trust. In addition, the firm established the Gaby Hardwicke Foundation for the benefit of the communities in the towns in which we practise.

Charity of the Year

Our 2020 ‘Charity of the Year’ is The Sara Lee Trust, which supports people in Hastings and Rother who are affected by cancer and other life threatening illnesses through the provision of free psychological and therapeutic support.

Sara’s Story

Sara was born in the then Aden Protectorate in August 1963 whilst her father was a medical officer with the RAF. On their return from Aden the family settled locally, Sara later attending Bexhill College, followed by Hastings College doing a foundation course in fine arts. In 1979 she moved to London to work in the fashion industry ending up as a stylist in fashion photography. 

In 1993 Sara was diagnosed with a sarcoma of her wrist. The treatment for this entailed amputating her right arm and chemotherapy. The odds against survival of this type of cancer were nil, but Sara was a fighter and was determined to try to survive. She began to plan her own care alongside her medical treatment, learning about diet was her first choice; in those days we were not as enlightened as we are today about diet, relaxation, and meditation.

She lived and worked through the next two years and continued to work until six weeks before her death. During this time she often talked about how wonderful she found her complementary therapies, and hoped that something could be done for people with cancer who found it difficult to source their own therapies and pay for them. After her death her family and friends set up the Sara Lee Trust to allow others to experience what Sara had achieved, to live life to the full, in spite of the cancer within.

Previous Gaby Hardwicke Charities and Local Causes of the Year have included the Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings branches of the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), the Conquest Hospital MRI Scanner Appeal and Teenage Cancer Trust.

The Sara Lee Trust is a registered charity: Registered charity number 1055048

The Sara Lee Trust Logo
Dementia Friends training at our Eastbourne office
Dementia Friends training at our Eastbourne office

Gaby Hardwicke Foundation

Each year, the partners of Gaby Hardwicke donate part of their annual profits to the Gaby Hardwicke Foundation, a registered charity whose trustees use the funds to support and assist worthy local causes.

Some examples of recent beneficiaries of donations from the Gaby Hardwicke Foundation include:

  • Northease Manor (Special School) for sports equipment.
  • The local cardiac screening unit.
  • A charitable project that works with local vulnerable residents.
  • Castledown Primary School, Hastings, for equipment for their youth club.
  • Embrace East Sussex to purchase equipment for children with special needs.
  • Transport was provided for 24 local disabled athletes to the Special Olympics in Bath.
  • 1st Sidley Brownies.
  • Local carers and those who they care for were treated to cream teas.

In addition, donations have been made to individuals who have particular and often unique and challenging needs. By working with those individuals closely the foundation has provided funds or devices that have greatly enhanced both their day to day lives and those of their carers and families.

It is the policy of the trustees to direct the funds to deserving causes within our local area to fulfil a specific need for which assistance is not available from any other source.

There are no limits on the applications they will consider but their focus tends to be on children, the elderly and the disabled, nor are there are any formal requirements or application forms. Requests for assistance should be emailed to the trustees’ chairman, Peter Taylor, at

The Gaby Hardwicke Foundation donation to Northease School
The Gaby Hardwicke Foundation donation to Northease School

Highly commended in the Law Society’s 2018 Excellence Awards.

Firm Facts

  • Founded in 1889
  • 70 solicitors and executives
  • 16 partners
  • ISO registered

Practice areas

  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Company and commercial law
  • Conveyancing
  • Corporate finance
  • Employment law
  • Family law
  • Intellectual property
  • Lasting powers of attorney
  • Personal Injury
  • Property law
  • Trusts
  • Wills and probate


  • Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
  • Headway – The Brain Injury Association
  • Resolution – First for Family Law
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
  • Spinal Injuries Association (SIA)
  • The Law Society – Family Law Panel
  • The Law Society – Personal Injury Panel
  • The Law Society – Conveyancing Quality Scheme
  • ISO 9001:2015