EAPC President Christoph Ostgathe and past presidents Philip Larkin and Sheila Payne pay tribute to Avril Jackson who is retiring from the EAPC on 31st January
“You never quite go, something of you stays here …” is the refrain of a song sung by the German folk actress Trude Herr back in 1987 when she said goodbye to the stage. This is now also what the EAPC wishes for, as we have to say goodbye to an important pillar of the Association. Avril, our Communications Officer, is leaving the EAPC stage for a well-deserved retirement!
In 2012, the EAPC launched a blog as part of an emerging social media initiative to raise awareness of palliative care among health and social care professionals and academics. The blog aimed to disseminate information and news about EAPC groups and collaborative projects, foster a sense of community among members and supporters, and generate interest in the annual EAPC Congresses. Avril – who joined the EAPC in 2012 – has been at the heart and the catalyst of this development from the beginning. Today, our social media presence reaches more than 24,000 people on six continents!
The blog is internationally recognised for its diverse and timely content on palliative care – from the latest research and practice development to personal stories and perspectives – in a format that is short, engaging and quick to digest for busy practitioners and academics alike. Contributors appreciate the supportive editorial and review process, rapid publication and wide distribution. Today, after nine years, the EAPC blog attracts contributions from some of the leading academics, researchers and practitioners in the global palliative care community who generously share recent research, new initiatives and personal stories. It also provided opportunities for practitioners to publish their work in English, some for the first time, under the kind and supportive guidance of Avril.
Prior to joining the EAPC, Avril worked for 31 years at St Christopher’s Hospice in London, where she ran the Hospice Information Service, a resource for health and social care professionals and the public. The Information Service, founded by Dame Cicely Saunders in 1977 to “connect people” and “gather people’s experiences”, provided an enquiry service, a printed magazine, the Hospice Information Bulletin, information leaflets, national and international directories of palliative care and the organisation of an annual two-day conference at the hospice for the French-speaking palliative care community. Between this and her work for the EAPC, Avril has been the eyes and ears of palliative care for four decades and her contribution, professionalism and personal warmth as friend and colleague will be sorely missed.
Now, after more than 40 years of facilitating hospice and palliative care, Avril is retiring and wants to spend more time with her family. We, the three most recent presidents, who had the pleasure to have worked with Avril, would like to thank her on behalf of the EAPC head office and the Board for her great contribution to the development of the EAPC into a global advocate for palliative care. And we all hope that she too can sing this modified refrain: “…. I never quite go, something of me stays here …”
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Proud to know Avril – great motivator and nice woman.
Dear Avril, it was always such a treat to work with you! Thank you for all the fantastic professionalism, competence and fun you’ve brought the the EAPC and the blog! Will miss reading you – but looking forward to meet you again in other circumstances! Enjoy your new free time!