The Saint Francis Hospice Blog

Welcome to the Saint Francis Hospice blog.
We'll be bringing you thoughts, views and insight from our staff, volunteers, supporters and patients. If you have an idea for a blog, please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you!

Tom Murtagh with Joe Emery, Content Writer, at WHU's training ground in Rush Green

"Furlough followed paternity leave, but it's great to be back"

07-08-2020
Tom Murtagh

In March, the world changed so much within such a short space of time. I was on paternity leave when the lockdown hit, and after only a few days back at work, I was furloughed. 

MIchelle Gower (1) (cropped)

"We have had some fantastic support from the community we care for."

30-07-2020
Michelle Gower


I was given the opportunity of working in our reception area at the time of COVID 19.

Dr Anna Gray

"The pandemic has reinforced why I wanted to specialise in end of life care"

29-07-2020
Dr Anna Gray

After I qualified in medicine, I decided to train to become a consultant who specialises in palliative and end of life care.

Vince Felton, Catering Manager

"What we'd do for our mums, we'd do for our patients"

10-07-2020
Vince Felton

Every member of staff at Saint Francis Hospice has had to adjust amid the COVID-19 outbreak, including myself and my team.

Sean Erwood photo (cropped)

"It makes my day telling people they've won our Lottery"

03-07-2020
Sean Erwood

Before COVID19 my job mainly involved working with our fundraising team to provide our supporters with anything they need to help their fundraising.

Andrea Prout 2 (cropped)

From day service coordinator to managing logistics

01-07-2020
Andrea Prout

As a British Army veteran and retired Police officer, I should really have known better than to ‘volunteer’ but it’s not in my nature to shy away from any situation and as I uttered the words “If there is anything you think I can do just ask,” my list of ‘any things’ grew more and varied as the pandemic took hold.

Shahina Haque, Family Support Services Manager (cropped)

Bereavment service - "People have had to hold their grief"

25-06-2020
Shahina Haque

During this pandemic, bereavement support has become more than ever a vital service.

Big smiles as Sharon massages patient's feet on the ward (cropped)

Therapies - reflexology and massage on the ward

12-06-2020
Sharon Williams

When the lockdown first came into place and we realised that we were no longer able to treat our lovely patients hands-on, I was disappointed.

Bridget Moss cropped (cropped)

Education - How we responded to the national crisis

09-06-2020
Bridget Moss 

Like all of the services at Saint Francis Hospice, Education changed to ensure everyone was safe whilst essential learning continued.

A4 sign

6 reasons you should volunteer for Saint Francis Hospice

04-06-2020
Abigail Brown 
Sarah-Jane Higbee (1) (cropped)

Domestic team - Our role is more important than ever

29-05-2020
Sarah-Jane Higbee

The girls that have been working throughout these extraordinary times have been amazing.

Kathryn Owens headshot

Therapies Team - Finding new ways to deliver care

24-05-2020
Kathryn Owens

As with all areas of care during this challenging time, we have had to look at alternative ways to support patients within Saint Francis Hospice and also those under our care in the community.

Nicola Stananought in her PPE 2 (cropped)

Community team - Caring for a covid-19 patient

18-05-2020
Nicola Stananought

Many of our patients express a clear wish that when they are less well, they want to remain in their own home; they want to be comfortable, they want their dignity maintained and they want their loved ones near. 

Nasreen with her husband and three children

Dying Matters Week - Talking about death without shame or fear

17-05-2020
Nasreen Al-Azami

As part of Dying Matters Week (11-17 May), Nasreen Al-Azami, whose husband Nabeel was under our care and whose family were supported by our bereavement service, reflects on the importance of talking about death and dying and the difference it made to her family. 

One of our OrangeLine volunteers on the phone (cropped)

OrangeLine - Our phonecalls are a lifeline to the lonely

05-05-2020
Anita Millar

Reaching out from kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms and even the garden, are our wonderful OrangeLine volunteers.

Sue Spong (2) (cropped)

Bereavement Support - My work at Saint Francis Hospice is all about relationship

05-05-2020
Sue Spong

My work at Saint Francis Hospice is all about relationship - A therapeutic relationship between myself and one of our patients, a family member, both together or at times the whole family.

Klaire Craven with a bespoke aromatherapy blend and information 3 (3) (cropped)

Empowering patients and families

29-04-2020
Klaire Craven 

Generally, our patients get a lot of comfort and relief from the therapeutic touch that we offer within our complementary therapy appointments.

Julia Bryan on the phone 2

SCCS - Supporting patients and families via telephone

20-04-2020
Julia Bryan

The team is in extreme demand due to the current crisis and therefore adapting different ways of working to ensure our team can continue supporting patients and families in the community.

Hospice at Home HCA Julie White wearing PPE - resized

Hospice at Home - caring for patients during COVID-19 crisis

11-04-2020
Julie White 

Julie White is a Healthcare Assistant with our Hospice at Home team and here she shares the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on the way she cares and supports patients and families. 

Rosie Cassidy

The summer of volunteering

17-03-2020
Joe Emery

Last summer, Rosie Cassidy had time to fill. She kindly decided to volunteer for Saint Francis Hospice before going back to university to continue her degree in psychology.

DSC_1951

How honesty helps bereaved children heal

05-03-2020
Joe Emery

Teresa Mottram was food shopping when her 3-year-old daughter pointed to the fridge and exclaimed: "Daddy likes those yoghurts." Teresa replied to Lily-May: "But darling, Daddy died, so he doesn't need them anymore."

June

June's little miracle

02-03-2020
Joe Emery

June Spencer was just three years old when measles caused blindness in her right eye. For the next 68 years, June relied on her left eye to help her lead a happy and healthy life.

DSC_2911

Bernie's love for volunteering

24-02-2020
Joe Emery

Bernie Murphy has been a volunteer driver at Saint Francis Hospice for 16 years. He chauffeurs outpatients to and from our social hub for local people at any stage of a life-limiting illness.

Pam's drum

This is our oasis

20-02-2020
Joe Emery

When Pam Court first joined Saint Francis Hospice as CEO, her friends and family would ask: "Isn't it a terribly morbid and sad place to work?" Pam would explain that it is quite the opposite, and she hasn't looked back since.

You're not alone (colon) OrangeLine is just a phone call away

Lending a listening ear

18-02-2020

When John Lightfoot retired from the hustle and bustle of London's Square Mile, he needed to keep busy and away from the humdrum of daytime television.

DSC_2020

A force in volunteering

12-02-2020
Joe Emery

Gary is one of 959 volunteers who give up 265,000 hours each year — saving Saint Francis Hospice £1.5m over 12 months.

David Jobbins

A new outlook on life

07-02-2020
Joe Emery

When David Jobbins was diagnosed with a harmless urinary tract infection, routine tests revealed something more severe: prostate cancer.

C78A6886

Brian's reward

05-02-2020
Joe Emery

It was six o'clock in the morning when Brian Holmes was harshly awoken while sleeping in a hospital bed. Still feeling the effects of an operation to remove his gallbladder, along came a breakfast trolley of clinking plates and clanking cutlery — with squeaky wheels to boot.

Wallace

Respite for Wallace

05-02-2020
Joe Emery

Wallace White was 73 years old when he was diagnosed with heart failure.

Anne Lancaster

Anne's honour

05-02-2020
Joe Emery

When Anne Lancaster meets people who haven't been to Saint Francis Hospice, they are often puzzled about how she can go back to the place where her mum passed away — let alone volunteer there.

Archive
2015
May
20th - End of life care
26th - Aches, pains & blistered feet from non-stop 145 mile race are worth it.
June
4th - Volunteers' week
9th - Carers Week
25th - Four days at Saint Francis Hospice has taught me never to judge a book by its cover.
30th - End of life care
July
7th - Ironman training
10th - My work experience
10th - Charity criticism
17th - Prudential 100
30th - End of life care
31st - Lourdes Pilgrimage
August
19th - Bereavement support
October
6th - End of life care
22nd - End of life care
28th - Great Wall of China Trek
November
19th - Children's Grief Awareness Week
20th - Children's Grief Awareness Week
23rd - Children's Grief Awareness Week
25th - Children's Grief Awareness Week
2016
January
24th - Run Nurse Run
26th - Charity criticism
February
2nd - National Storytelling Week
3rd - National Storytelling Week
4th - National Storytelling Week
12th - Run Nurse Run
March
15th - World Social Work Day
15th - World Social Work Day
25th - Run Nurse Run
April
29th - Run Nurse Rest
May
9th - "I feel incredibly lucky, because I've been given the chance to sort things out."
12th - Ten reasons to say thank you to Saint Francis Hospice nurses on International Nurses Day.
July
15th - CQC Inspection
25th - My 'thank you' to Dr Kate Granger
27th - Walking for Nanny - Brenda's Babes
August
2nd - 'Connectedness is an antidote to loneliness'
October
14th - A beautiful way to remember my mum at Christmas
December
7th - SFH Writing & Talking Group
2017
February
10th - Julia Bell's first Mud N Madness experience!
March
13th - Children in Need
14th - Children In Need
28th - Children In Need
April
25th - Spencer's Marathon Day - Part 2
25th - Spencer's Marathon Day - Part 1
October
31st - My view of Santathon
31st - Why I love volunteering
2018
January
26th - Sue's on the run again!
February
13th - Sue's Marathon Challenge - part 2!
March
14th - Sue's Marathon Challenge - Bursitis, bruises and the Dartford Half Marathon
April
4th - Sue completes Liverpool Half Marathon - blog 4
23rd - Marathon day finally arrives!
27th - Why I ran the Brighton Half Marathon...
July
11th - Volunteering with PRIDE
October
15th - How Saint Francis Hospice changed our lives.
November
5th - A day in the life of an Occupational Therapist
8th - I started life as an Occupational Therapist
15th - Children's Grief Awareness Week
16th - Thank you Children in Need for helping us to support 110 young people every year
19th - My daughter received the right support at the right time
2019
January
22nd - London Marathon 2019 - Serene and Kelly's story
February
4th - London Marathon 2019 - Sue Spong and the Family Support Services team - Part 1
12th - A day in the life of a Community Nurse Specialist
March
8th - London Marathon 2019 - Sue Spong and the Family Support Services team - part 2
15th - London Marathon 2019 - Sue Spong and the Family Support Services team - Part 2
April
5th - 100,000 steps in 24 hours
9th - Rebecca Parker - My role as a bereavement volunteer
May
9th - Sue's fabulous 2019 London Marathon achievement
13th - Dying Matters Week 2019 - Mimi's story
June
3rd - National Volunteers' Week 2019 - Bernard Murphy
3rd - National Volunteers' Week 2019 - Doreen Northfield
4th - National Volunteers' Week 2019 - John Brocklehurst
4th - National Volunteers' Week 2019 - Rakesh Silliara
4th - National Volunteers' Week 2019 - Hans De Vrind
5th - National Volunteers' Week 2019 - Melita Milsom
6th - National Volunteers' Week 2019 - Rita Gersh
6th - National Volunteers' Week 2019 - Robert Phillips
7th - National Volunteers' Week 2019 - Christine Clifford
July
9th - Creative therapy at Saint Francis Hospice
August
8th - How your Lottery money is helping bereaved children
October
7th - Saint Francis Hospice
8th - Mimi's motto
November
1st - Howdy, Malcolm
13th - Bridging the age gap
27th - Sprinkle magic on your CV by volunteering at Saint Francis Hospice
28th - Us and Mrs Jones
December
3rd - Iris lucks out with volunteering
4th - Dr Corinna Midgley
5th - The love of Saint Francis Hospice
12th - Christmas in June
13th - Terry's happy place
17th - Art therapy
19th - Gemma’s back in the loop
24th - Saint Francis Hospice
27th - Dave's ladies
2020
January
2nd - Dr Corinna Midgley
8th - Hello January, my old friend...
13th - Dr Corinna's plea for us to pull together
24th - Fulfilment at last
27th - Elsie's magical place
February
5th - Anne's honour
5th - Respite for Wallace
5th - Brian's reward
7th - A new outlook on life
12th - A force in volunteering
18th - Lending a listening ear
20th - This is our oasis
24th - Bernie's love for volunteering
March
2nd - June's little miracle
5th - How honesty helps bereaved children heal
17th - The summer of volunteering
April
11th - Hospice at Home - caring for patients during COVID-19 crisis
20th - SCCS - Supporting patients and families via telephone
29th - Empowering patients and families
May
5th - Bereavement Support - My work at Saint Francis Hospice is all about relationship
5th - OrangeLine - Our phonecalls are a lifeline to the lonely
17th - Dying Matters Week - Talking about death without shame or fear
18th - Community team - Caring for a covid-19 patient
24th - Therapies Team - Finding new ways to deliver care
29th - Domestic team - Our role is more important than ever
June
4th - 6 reasons you should volunteer for Saint Francis Hospice
9th - Education - How we responded to the national crisis
12th - Therapies - reflexology and massage on the ward
25th - Bereavment service - "People have had to hold their grief"
July
1st - From day service coordinator to managing logistics
3rd - "It makes my day telling people they've won our Lottery"
10th - "What we'd do for our mums, we'd do for our patients"
29th - "The pandemic has reinforced why I wanted to specialise in end of life care"
30th - "We have had some fantastic support from the community we care for."
August
7th - "Furlough followed paternity leave, but it's great to be back"