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Happy birthday Saint Francis Hospice!

Saint Francis Hospice celebrated its 31st birthday last week with a special service attended by two of the local Mayors and a number of the hospice's Trustees.
Pam with B& D Mayor
Saint Francis Hospice opened its doors on July 23rd 1984 in Havering-atte-Bower after it was identified at a community health meeting that there was a need for better care for local people with a life-limiting illness such as cancer. The opening followed nine years of individuals and organisations rallying around raising funds and managing the development.

Over the years the hospice has developed with the:
-    Launch of a home care service in 1985 where nurses would visit patients in their homes;
-    Introduction of bereavement counselling in 1986 and then a dedicated Children and Families Social Worker in 2007;
-    Extension of care, in 1991, beyond cancer patients to people with Motor Neurone Disease. Today the charity looks after people with complex needs related to any life-limiting illness.
-    Development of a dedicated day hospice opened in 1993;
-    A telephone support service created in 1996 for specialist nurses to call patients to check their condition and needs and medical professionals to obtain advice;
-    Expansion of education and training following the creation of a dedicated Education Centre
-    Creation of Hospice at Home service in 2001 thanks to a donation of £400,000.

Pam Pic B 2 Mayors with Paul Freedman and Carole HeinenCourt, the hospice's CEO said "The hospice has grown from caring for around 200 people in 1984 to more than 4,000 people today with the majority of our patients supported in their own homes, which is where they want to be."

The hospice's recently retired chaplain Graham Laut returned to lead the service that was attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Havering and the Mayor and Mayoress of  Barking & Dagenham and three of the hospice's Trustees: Paul Gwinn, a Director of Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club, Peter Batt, the hospice's newest Trustee and a Divisional Managing Director for the Co-operative, and Stephen Roome, Finance Director of Roomes Furniture and Interiors store in Upminster spoke of their work for the hospice. John Morris, pictured, led the hospice's choir.

Pic B 2 Mayors with Paul Freedman and Carole Heinen

Paul GwiPic B 2 Mayors with Paul Freedman and Carole Heinennn, pictured with Pam Court and the Mayor and Mayoress of Barking & Dagenham, noted the amazing fundraising efforts that the charity makes to raise over £7million each year from the local community. "I would like to congratulate the team on their hard work and invaluable contribution they make to financing the wonderful work the hospice does" said Paul.

Pic B 2 Mayors with Paul Freedman and Carole HeinenTrustee Stephen Roome talking to the Mayor of Barking & Dagenham, Cllr Simon Bremner