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General news Archives - Page 2 of 7 - St Christopher's Hospice

Helen Hayes MP opens new St Christopher’s shop

St Christopher’s new shop was officially opened by Helen Hayes MP on Saturday 27 January.

The MP for Dulwich and West Norwood was joined by staff and volunteers from the charity as well as eager shoppers and local councillors as she cut the ribbon on the St Christopher’s store in West Dulwich.

It was a day packed full of shop openings for in Dulwich as we also officially re-opened our refurbished stores on Lordship Lane in the morning.

Mayor Michael Situ and volunteer Carolina cut the ribbon in East Dulwich

The Mayor of Southwark Michael Situ cut the ribbon at the East Dulwich shop. He was joined by an 89-year-old volunteer, Carolina, who has supported St Christopher’s for more than three decades.

The East Dulwich kids’ store, also on Lordship Lane, was officially re-opened by 18-year-old Ben Parish. As a youngster Ben received bereavement support through our child bereavement service, Candle, after his mum and grandad both died.

More than £4000 was spent across the three stores as shoppers flocked in to take advantage of a 25% discount power hour to celebrate the openings.

Helen Hayes cuts the ribbon with staff in West Dulwich

Helen Hayes MP said: I’m really delighted to see the new St Christopher’s shop in West Dulwich, it’s a great addition to the local area providing the opportunity to shop sustainably and to support the hospice which provides vital services for so many families in our local area.”

St Christopher’s Chief Executive, Helen Simmons, and the Deputy Chair of the board, Eleanor Brown, attended all three events. As well as Ms Hayes, local councillors Andy Simmons and Margy Newens were also in attendance at West Dulwich.

Focusing on premium fashion, our newest shop is located at the corner of Croxted Road and Park Hall Road, opposite Tesco Express in West Dulwich.

It’s our 24th shop across South London and swung open its doors for shoppers just before Christmas. It has brought in more than £20,000 in its first eight weeks of trading.

Ben Parish cuts the ribbon in East Dulwich at our kids' store

Each year we need to raise more than £16m to continue providing support and care for those in our communities.

Helen Simmons Chief Executive of St Christopher’s said:  “As a resident of Dulwich, I know how strong the support for St Christopher’s is here and the shop has been so well received by our community in its first few weeks of trading.

“Over the past year we’ve seen strong growth in our shops, and generated more money from them than ever before in 2022/23, which all goes towards our care for those at the end of life, as well as their loved ones.

“Community is so crucial to St Christopher’s and we’re so grateful to everyone who came out and celebrated with us on Saturday.”

Eleanor Brown, Dulwich resident, Chair of the Trading Board and Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees, said:

We’re delighted to open our latest shop within the thriving and vibrant community of West Dulwich.

“We in Dulwich are ardent supporters of St Christopher’s and there has already been wonderful feedback from residents about the new shop and the goods we have on offer.

“The ability for us to donate so close to home is fantastic and all helps us to raise the vital money for the care St Christopher’s delivers.”

“Every pound spent or item donated means we can continue to support people at the end of life and their loved ones.”

Remembering Dr Colin Murray Parkes OBE

Beloved husband of Patricia, and father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Colin taught us that grief is “the price we pay for love”.

Colin worked closely with our founder Dame Cicely Saunders for many years at St Christopher’s and was dedicated to the understanding and care of bereaved people. He touched countless professional and personal lives.

An expert in grief and bereavement having worked with families after the Aberfan disaster in 1966, he established the first hospice bereavement service at St Christopher’s.

In 1960s Britain, bereaved friends and relatives were expected to hide their grief and carry on with normal life. However, the service was a success, partly because it recognised that dying not only affects someone with a terminal illness but also those close to them.

The service provided contact with loved-ones, and debriefing meetings for staff after each patient’s death, along with basic psychiatry training for nurses.

Bereavement services are now common and St Christopher’s continues the work Colin started by providing both informal and formal bereavement care to more than a thousand people each year.

He was interviewed for our Oral History project, The Voices that Shaped Us, which was exhibited in 2022, and you can listen to an extract of his interview here.

The thoughts of everyone at St Christopher’s are with Colin’s family at this time.

Lottery win “felt like a gift from Charlotte”

Mike and Penny Robinson lottery winners

A surprise win on the St Christopher’s lottery for Michael and Penny Robinson, felt like a present from their daughter Charlotte, who was the very reason they started to support the hospice.

The retired couple from Goring by Sea began playing the lottery while Charlotte was being cared for at St Christopher’s in 2017 and the whole family’s appreciation and gratitude for the care and support they received, has seen family and friends raise more than £50,000 since Charlotte’s death, aged 37.

“It was such a surprise when I opened the envelope,” said Michael. “The first thing I saw was the cheque. At first, I thought it was £15, then £150 before finally realising it was £1500.

“It’s difficult to accept such a large sum of money from a hospice but it felt like a gift from Charlotte, because she was so committed to and passionate about St Christopher’s.”

Michael and Penny have been giving some thought to what they might do with their windfall and think they’ve settled on a plan which will see some of the money finding its way back to the hospice, while they will also spend a little on a symbolic treat.

“Charlotte had a bucket list and insisted that no day should be wasted,” Michael adds. “Sadly, there were several things she wasn’t able to fulfil, and she and her mother were great fans of afternoon tea. So, I think we’ll go somewhere special for tea in London.”

Not content with joining 37 friends and family members from all over the world to take part in the St Christopher’s Fun Walk two days after her funeral, walking 57 miles from the hospice to Charlotte’s childhood home in Goring, cycling from London to Amsterdam and walking a further 100km from Eastbourne to Arundel, Charlotte’s brother Jez will be running the Brighton marathon in 2024 to raise further much needed funds.

Michael says: “I think a fair bit of the £1500 will filter its way back to St Christopher’s by way of sponsoring Jez. We’re so proud of all the fundraising efforts he’s put in.

“The money raised so far went towards refurbishing the hairdressing salon and complementary therapy rooms which was great because it felt very personal and gave us something tangible that we could identify with and see that it was making a difference to other people.”

Charlotte spent two and half weeks in St Christopher’s and was then cared for at home in Beckenham, where Penny says Charlotte and the family so appreciated knowing they could call the hospice 24 hours a day.

Now, six years later, the couple share a real sense of warmth when they think about St Christopher’s.

“What matters most to me is that I know when I go back there I feel tremendously welcome and hugely supported,” says Michael.

Penny adds: “For me, going into St Christopher’s feels like having a big blanket going around you. We’ve maintained a relationship and it’s important for us to know what it’s doing for other people.”

If you’d like to support St Christopher’s in memory of someone special, or you maybe just fancy your chances of winning one of our monthly jackpots, playing the lottery couldn’t be simpler – just click here.

What we mean by managing pain beyond medicine

Andrew Goodhead

Our long-standing Lead Chaplain of over 20 years at St Christopher’s Hospice shares why contemplative care is such an important practice to ensuring complete care that is individual, and centred around the person

What is contemplative care?

“I think contemplative care is the practice or ability to actively spend time with people and enable them, through that time with them, to take them thoughtfully from a place that might be unsettling or disquieting to a recognition of peace or resolution. It’s about coming alongside and being with and working with them at their speed to talk things through or just having the ability to say things the family want to say but can’t say.”

Why is contemplative care important?

“When they began, hospices were not entirely clinical environments. There was a clear distinction between hospitals and hospices. Dame Cicely saw modern healthcare as very deductive and focused on making people better. It had abandoned and was not listening to those that were dying.

Dame Cicely’s approach was about a holistic understanding of human need as death approached and that could be for a prolonged period, rather than just the final few days. Some people stayed two years or more, there was an old people’s wing and daycare for children. The hospice recognised breadth of life and was about coming together to create a community.

Medicine didn’t have the upper hand and it was much more around the care of the whole individual. That’s something that can be lost when one profession appears to have the prominent voice.  It’s important that care isn’t overwhelmingly medical and contemplative care encourages doctors, nurses, and others engaged in supportive roles to a place of contemplative encounter – to be present with them and give something of themselves to those moments. That’s about the quality of the time spent and not the length of time.”

What are the benefits?

“It’s about having the ability to enable patients and those close to them to be heard – and for professionals to listen. Good evidence shows if you have a service that sits and listens, then the drugs bill goes down. It’s about simple things like maintaining death as a social event and not a clinical one.

For professionals the benefits include a greater sense of understanding, improving listening skills, and a greater sense of job satisfaction.”

Who should be involved in contemplative care?

“Everyone!”

How has the relationship between clinicians and those involved in spiritual and psychosocial care evolved in your time as St Christopher’s Lead Chaplain – almost 20 years?

“Dame Cicely drew people to work at St Christopher’s who shared her outlook on life. Increasingly doctors and nurses don’t have that same calling. That is a big change. We now have more people referred to us with more complicated conditions. Rather than just thinking that means we have to rely solely on more complex medication, we have to acknowledge that it needs more than one approach – not just one medical prescription.”

What can people expect at the conference?

“We’ll be looking to offer insights that will support everyone who comes along to look at their own practice in a new way. They might already be expressing their work in a contemplative manner, but perhaps they could do a bit more. It’ll also be about encouraging people to see different ways to approach this method and to support people; finding the best way to meet people as they are and treating them as whole human beings. It can involve silences and feeling comfortable saying I haven’t got an answer – seeing our human side and that we’re not invincible.”

What would be your ideal scenario for where contemplative care should be in another 20 years?

“I would hope it remains a person-centred offer of care at the end of life. Sometimes that will mean medicine sits in the passenger seat while other supportive types of care take the wheel to allow a person and those close to them to feel they are heard and seen and responded to in an appropriate and timely way.”

Why should people attend The Case for Contemplative Care conference?

“This will change your life – no better reason to come.”


If you are interested in The Case for Contemplative Care conference, get more information about speakers and programme below here.

Visual graphic with illustrated person with long hair and icons related to nature, hobbies and thought.

The importance of caring for pain beyond medicine

In March, St Christopher’s is hosting a new conference: The Case for Contemplative Care. We asked Mandy Bruce, who leads our Psychological and Spiritual team and whose idea the conference is, to explain the basics of contemplative care, the benefits (for patients and practitioners), how the conference came about and what delegates should expect on the day. 

Continue reading “The importance of caring for pain beyond medicine”

William’s story

Having grown up on a Northern Irish farm, William Patterson was no stranger to mischief and physical activity as a youngster. As we sit together after his physiotherapy session, a cheerful smile emerges as he recounts avoiding piano lessons.

“I would to walk to the house, and I would lift the knocker and drop it as quietly as possible. I would run home and say that nobody had answered!”

His wife, Elizabeth, eagerly chips in with her favourite story about her husband: “He’s got an older brother, and a younger brother, and his parents had just decorated the living room. So, they decided to write across the ceiling – with red paint – ‘Happy Christmas’, and they were so excited about it. I think their mother was about to explode!”

The couple moved to England in 1961, when they were just 24 years old. Elizabeth was training as a housing manager, while William had recently qualified as a pharmacist. It was only when William’s boss asked him to manage his entire second branch that they decided to stay this side of the water permanently.

William preparing for his standing exercises

Before coming to St Christopher’s, William’s experience with the hospice was limited at best: the few people he knew who had come here had only done so for their final days. It was only when he started visiting St Christopher’s in Orpington after heart failure last year that he began to experience how much is done here.

“That’s where we’ve been fortunate,” he explains. “We’ve been fit and well. It’s very hard, because your emphasis at one stage of life is in one direction and then it changes slightly because something happens.”

An initial three-week course for breathlessness was recommended following William’s heart failure, and once this was completed he took the opportunity to start a six-week course of exercises to build up the muscles in his body. He has covered a wide range of movements in each session, including resistance exercises with weights, balance exercises, and cardio training, all of which his therapist, Paula, says he has made great progress with.

When asked what he wanted to achieve at the start of his program, William told the team that he wanted to be fitter for his gardening.

William with his physiotherapist

“I can’t get on my knees for gardening, so standing and doing it I’d have to stop every half-hour. But since doing this, I’ve been able to go for much longer than I have been able to do before.”

It was truly heart-warming to hear how William had improved, and what it meant to him to have energy to do what he loves.

“I would encourage anyone who is given the same opportunity to say yes. Right from the first time I visited St Christopher’s everyone has been very friendly and helpful and welcoming, which made me feel as though I was at home. I am very grateful for all the help and encouragement I have received from the physios, who are excellent.”

Winter Celebration

On Thursday 14th December 2023, the Community Action Team at St Christopher’s hosted a Winter Celebration at CARE, our Centre for Awareness and Response to End of Life.

Over 100 people braved the cold December afternoon to come together to our annual Winter Celebration in CARE (Centre for Awareness and Response to End of Life). We were joined by people across our five boroughs (Croydon, Lewisham, Bromley, Lambeth, and Southwark), for some live music, food, and lots of mulled wine! Many of our guests are a part of our various projects and programmes, such as Compassionate Neighbours, Bereavement Buddies and Coach 4 Care.

We had the pleasure of listening to a fantastic brass band from a local school, Our Lady and St Philip Neri Primary in Sydenham, who lit up the room with their rousing versions of some classic songs including Stand by Me and Jingle Bells.

As well as enjoying some music and seasonal food and drink, the afternoon offered arts activities for people to get involved in: from making your own mini cardboard Christmas trees and adding thoughts and reflections to our Winter Wishing and Memory tree, to making clay prints using leaves and plants gathered from our local Crystal Palace Park.

We reflected on what the winter means to each of us, on memories of the year that is ending, and wishes and hopes for the new year. Together we felt the warmth of connection and the strength of collective feeling and action.   

Our celebration was about the power of community: each person who attended was invited because they are part of a wider community acting to connect with and care about others. For some that connection may come through the loss of a loved one. For others it is an opportunity to meet new people or let our community know we care about them. Whether we have similar or differing experiences, we know that there is power in sharing them together and supporting each other.

If you want to get involved, or find out more about our Community Action projects and programmes, take a look at our website: Community action – St Christopher’s Hospice (stchristophers.org.uk)


Sheila’s lottery story

It’s four years now since her fitness club friend, AJ Sheppard, died at St Christopher’s, but Sheila Hearsum remembers her every Sunday morning as she works out with their group in Dulwich Park

That’s not the only way she remembers AJ though.

“After AJ passed away at the hospice, I thought the St Christopher’s lottery was a great way to contribute and to remember her. It’s a very worthy cause and a much-needed facility,” Sheila adds.

Sheila recalls how AJ, who’d been to Africa to help with a cheetah conservation project, was delighted that she got the chance to pet cats while she was at St Christopher’s.

While she’s yet to have a major windfall from the lottery, Sheila’s very happy to keep playing regularly.

“Another friend of mine was cared for there some time ago too and I just think it’s a really good charity to give to every month.”

You too can remember someone special, help us provide care and support for people at the end of life, and be in with a chance of winning up to £1500 every month. Simply click here.

It’s not unusual to be dancing on the ward

Leonor, an IPU Nurse in a dark blue uniform, looks at the camera

It’s hard not to believe that it was Leonor Pacheco’s destiny to work at St Christopher’s.

The pieces started falling into place early. It was in Leonor’s teens that she became fully aware of palliative care when her mother took early retirement and started training to be an end of life care volunteer.

“My mum had a lot of bereavements and then would come back from the training talking about Dame Cicely Saunders. She explained how it was all about the person and not the illness and I just thought this was what I wanted to do.”

It wasn’t though until her final year at school in Portugal that Leonor changed her life plans to keep her on that path to where she is now. Having always wanted to be a doctor, she came to the realisation that the closer relationships with patients meant nursing was the right career choice.

Then, in her final year of training she attended a conference with her mother. Leonor was both surprised and delighted that one of the speakers, Dr Ros Taylor, spoke about St Christopher’s.

“It was an amazing presentation and I just turned to my mother and said, ‘I want to work there’.”

Add in the fact that when Leonor was in Year 8 she went on a school trip London and decided then this was to be her future home, and the die was well and truly cast.

When she moved to the UK Leonor initially worked as a Health Care Assistant at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, while completing English exams. All the time she was there, Leonor was checking the St Christopher’s website for vacancies and as soon as a staff nurse job became available, she applied and was successful.

Four and a half years on, and she’s now a Deputy Ward Manager, doing the job she wanted to do in the place she wanted to work, in the city where she wanted to live.

“I felt so fortunate that I joined the team I did because I felt like I belonged from the beginning – like I was in the right place. They’re like my second family. Straight away I could see what they did, how they did it and the love they gave. At St Christopher’s that’s just how people are and I fall in love with the place over and over again.

“It just struck me immediately how different it is here. We’re free to give care to the person rather than the illness. I actually know the patients’ names, whereas in hospital I just knew them as ‘Bed 10’ or ‘Bed 11’. And that wasn’t the care I wanted to give.”

Being able to make a difference to people at this critical stage of life is what motivates Leonor every single day when she goes to work.

“People don’t die like they do on TV. I like talking to people in advance about what to expect, the journey to their last breath so they know what’s coming and can prepare mentally.

“Often people are very anxious and fearful but they don’t necessarily know what it is they are afraid of. It happens often, especially at night. They don’t know what’s coming and so I ask them if they want to know and I’m always honest with them. It’s reassuring and manages their expectations and empowers family members too.”

Increasing knowledge and raising awareness about death and dying has become something of a mission for Leonor. As well as taking collaborating with St Christopher’s CARE, and with the Community Action team, Leonor also has her own Instagram account dedicated to growing the conversation – @Weonlydieonce_.

“We need people to be thinking about these things way before they come to the hospice. When you’re in a crisis you’re already not thinking straight. The earlier we can have these conversations, the calmer we will feel about death, the less we will worry about it. Then we can take calculated risks and make more informed choices choices.”

Leonor certainly practices what she preaches – having frequent conversations with her family about her own and their wishes for the end of life.

While she likes the fact patients are pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere and range of care on offer at the hospice, Leonor wants this become common knowledge.

“Most people are referred here from busy hospitals and when they arrive they say how quiet it is and they can’t believe all the different things they can do here – like the gym and the physio. They can have their nails done and get a massage. People often imagine it’s a sad dark place, but in fact there’s lots of laughter and it can be a happy place. It’s not necessarily the last place either. Often people come for a short period and then go home.”

And when it comes to taking those calculated risks, Leonor’s recent dancing antics with St Christopher’s patient, Eddie Robinson, is proof positive of their value.

Leonor had got to know Eddie well over his stay on the ward and this included learning about his love of the singer Matt Monro – a singer Leonor now loves too.

“Sort of jokingly one day, almost dancing myself, I asked him if he’d like to dance and told him to pick a song or two,” she explains. “He called me and said he was ready to dance. He asked if we could film it and then we just did it like a spontaneous thing with him using his standing aid.”

The family loved the film and it went viral on social media.

Stretching the ‘calculated risk’ a little further, Leonor then helped Eddie fulfil his dream of having one last dance with his wife, Rita, in style – with prosecco, scones and flowers.

“I took two main messages away from this. Firstly, by getting to know people you learn what’s really important to them and you can then think outside the box and be creative in your care in a risk confident way to make things happen.

“The other main thing I want is for people to know that, actually, this kind of thing happens very often, these moments happen all the time. Hospices are places of opportunity to make memories, not just a place where you go to die.”

Feedback from families, often in the meetings held the day after their relative has died, provides Leonor with further affirmation of the value of the care she and her colleagues provide.

“I love these meetings because we tell each other stories about their loved ones, get to know the person even better and hear how our care impacted their lives and that’s really powerful.

“I also find having these meeting helps us with our grieving process, as in a way we lose them too. We need to allow ourselves to have our hearts broken because it’s such an intimate part of people’s lives that we’re playing a part in. We are part of their lives and they are part of ours. Of course, there are boundaries but sometimes we do cry and that’s ok.”

Read more about Eddie’s dancing exploits here!

Nurse Patrick’s marathon efforts touch people’s lives

Patrick O'Shea

When most people are staring into the abyss as they hit ‘the wall’ about five miles from the finish line of a marathon, that’s when St Christopher’s ward manager, Patrick O’Shea, reflects on where he’s come from, how proud he is of what he’s achieved, how much he loves his work and then pushes on to the end.

You see, Patrick didn’t follow a traditional path straight into nursing – or indeed running for that matter. He did though always have two attributes that meant that, when he made his career change, he was ideally suited to working in palliative care and now can’t imagine doing anything else. As well as being a ‘people person who loves to chat’, Patrick was well acquainted with death from an early age and has always felt comfortable talking about it.

Brought up originally in a fishing village in Ireland, he followed his mother into cheffing, starting out in kitchens at the age of 12. Patrick enjoyed the work but knew deep down that he wasn’t putting his communication skills to good use.

He recalls: “I didn’t like being behind closed doors, only getting to talk to people when I nipped out for cigarette breaks. I knew deep down that I wanted to work in an environment where I could help people.”

So, aged 21, Patrick enrolled on a training course to become a Health Care Assistant. Among the many jobs he took at that time, one changed his life.

“I started working at a hospice at Marymount Hospice in Cork and I just knew then that was what I wanted to do,” he says. “It was the calmness and the individualised care given to patients and families. I loved it there and I would work 12-hour shifts at weekends while I was studying. I just couldn’t get enough.”

Patrick had known about Dame Cicely Saunders for as long as he can remember and so when he trained as a nurse he knew for sure that he wanted to work at St Christopher’s. He moved to England and to broaden his understanding and knowledge of treatments first worked at Guys and St Thomas’s – something he’d advise any aspiring palliative care nurse to do.

He’s now progressed from being a staff nurse to deputy ward manager and now manages Rugby Ward on the inpatient unit at St Christopher’s – a position that allows him to pursue two of his professional passions; making a positive impact on the lives of patients and their families while also empowering his fellow nurses to provide the person-centred patient and family care he so values.

“Being present with the individual is so important and so different to working in a hospital where you’re run off your feet. Here in the hospice, you can really achieve something and touch people’s lives. In a hospital the focus tends to be on what you do wrong, whereas in a hospice it’s on what you do right. Quality improvement and education are also huge for me.”

One of the changes Patrick is proud to have implemented on the wards at St Christopher’s is a simple but significant one. Now, the team – ideally the whole multidisciplinary team of nurses, doctors and everyone involved in caring for the patients there – meet for a 15 minute ‘huddle’ halfway through their shift. He says it’s an opportunity for everyone to check in on the patients and each other.

“It’s been really successful,” Patrick adds. “It’s a way of further improving communication, bringing people to together, identifying any patient and family risks or concerns and provides a time to learn together as a team.”

Given his early life experience, it’s perhaps not so surprising Patrick made the superficially unlikely switch to palliative care nursing. Back home in Ireland, he says he’d attended at least 20 funerals by the time he was 10. Indeed, he, his mother and sister all have their plans in place for their burial and funeral.

“Death and dying have always been massive for me. We celebrate it in Ireland, and I’ve always been comfortable speaking about it. I love understanding different cultures’ approach to death. Yes, death can be sad, but we should also see it as a chance to celebrate life and that’s why it’s so important as a palliative care nurse to get to know someone.

“That’s what I mean about person-centred care – establishing who the individual really is, what really matters to them and what makes them happy. Asking those questions means you can put all the treatments and medication to one side and focus on providing something individual for that person.”

To illustrate this, Patrick recalls touching experiences he and his colleagues have been able to facilitate.

“For one woman who was very young and acutely unwell – what was important to her was to have a cinema night with her friends. We were able to set up a projector and cinema screen so she and seven of her girlfriends could enjoy a movie night with food and drink laid on.”

Two young women who got to know each other on the ward in the summer, and who shared some of the same goals, took their children on day trips to the zoo and beach, thanks to Patrick and the team managing their medicines and all the arrangements.

“It’s very individualised what people want and we’ll do everything we can to support and accommodate that,” Patrick adds.

Communication is key and Patrick has developed his own ways of engaging patients in conversations about their wishes.

“Welcoming people is a big part of what I do and creating a space in which they can trust me. Of course, there are professional boundaries but it’s also important to create close connections and I do that by being very open.”

In case you haven’t got the message yet, Patrick loves his work.

“I am very excited every day when I go to work. When I step into my uniform, I know I am working for my patients, their families and supporting my team. I am so passionate about it.”

Sometimes, Patrick says, he struggles to switch off from death and dying away from work, but only because it’s a topic he feels so strongly about.   

And then, there are his fundraising efforts for St Christopher’s. A mix of marathon running and bake sales have seen Patrick boost the hospice’s coffers by close to £4,000. Running, he says, provides him with a chance to reflect on where he’s come from and what he does.

“I’ve run seven marathons now. I feel proud and it’s hard to believe that that chef smoker, stuck away in the sweaty kitchen who’d never dreamt of running would be here now.

I write names of people who’re important to me on my hands to drive me on when I get to the 20-mile mark. At the Berlin marathon I was welling up, remembering that I’m running for my job.”

More than anything, Patrick wants the population to communicate more about death and dying and better understand what hospices are really like. He’s started making good on that public information campaign by running sessions for new volunteers at the hospice as well as care home staff.

“I would love for people to know more about what this place is really like and to have a greater awareness of what end of life care really looks like. St Christopher’s isn’t about doom and gloom, it’s about calm, about living well and sometimes about fun too. I really want to help to put that out there more.”

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