David Praill, Chief Executive of Help the Hospices, London, UK, pays tribute to the work of Anne, Duchess of Norfolk CBE, founder of the charity
Anne, Duchess of Norfolk CBE, who sadly died this week, played a pivotal role in the hospice movement with the founding of Help the Hospices in 1984, now the leading charity supporting hospice care throughout the UK.
Anne founded the charity with a vision of ensuring the very best care for everyone facing the end of their life and campaigned tirelessly for hospice care for 29 years. Her combination of compassion, generosity of spirit, mischievous sense of humour and hands-on practical support will be sorely missed at Hospice House, our London office, where until recently she made regular trips to offer us countless fundraising opportunities and advice. She was unstinting in her support, often travelling across the UK to hospices, writing scores of fundraising letters and even selling her greetings cards outside supermarkets. She was well known for her deep humanity and personal, caring touch and would always go the extra mile for patients.
Anne’s deep-felt passion for hospice care began in 1982, following a visit to one of Britain’s oldest hospices, St Joseph’s in Hackney, East London. Anne was inspired by the “magic” of the environment and at the end of her visit she offered to help the hospice in any way she could. She offered to do a spot of flower arranging or push the book trolleys around but the hospice director, Sister Paula, had a far grander scheme in mind and asked her to raise £1 million for their new training wing. It was a challenge that Anne took on with her trademark gusto, writing to everybody she knew. Demonstrating characteristic determination,18 months after her first visit to St Joseph’s, the total £1m was raised and the training wing was built.
In addition to her regular fundraising activities, Anne produced special pieces of art to raise money and sold 800 paintings in aid of Help the Hospices. Anne’s paintings were also used for charity greetings cards and every single penny raised from both artistic ventures was donated to our charity. Anne also actively supported and developed the education and training of hospice care staff. Anne was appointed a CBE for her work as Founder and Co-Chair of Help the Hospices in 1992. (A CBE – Commander of the British Empire – is an honour conferred by the Queen).
For me, Anne will always be remembered as a passionate and exceptionally dedicated champion of the hospice movement who was completely in her element when at the bedside of patients. She supported hospices in so many different ways, from her tireless fundraising to her efforts to make more people aware of the valuable contribution of hospices to society.
She will be greatly missed and leaves a rich legacy of compassion, coupled with inspirational drive and humour. It was a huge privilege to have worked with her.
To find out more…
You can read the full article in the UK edition of ehospice.