“As soon as I heard about the fundraising to set up the hospice, I knew it was where I wanted to be.”
Three decades later and Helen Duce is still proud to be caring for families here at Severn Hospice.
This week, we’re marking 30 years of providing comforting care and emotional support to families living with an incurable illness.
We are commemorating the jubilee on Friday July 12 – three decades to the day since we first welcomed ward patients at Shrewsbury.
And matron Helen, who has been with us from the beginning along with staff nurses Christine Johnson and Jean Dorsett, says despite embracing changes and expansions over the years, the “family feel” and caring values remain the same.
“I have been in a very privileged position to have been looking after patients and their families for 30 years,” she said.
“It has not ever been difficult for me to come to work. There’s been a lot of changes over the years, but the focus has always been to help more people and their families, and I think we’ve achieved that.
“Severn Hospice is a massive part of my life.
“I love spending time with people to communicate and show how much we care. That’s the meaning of it all.
“I want to show people that we can make a difference in so many ways at a very difficult time.”
We’ve cared for more than 34,000 people since opening our doors to support families in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.
Helen says one of her fondest memories is when she granted a patient’s final wish by bringing a baby lamb for her to meet.
“It has always felt like a family here,” she added. “I feel like I’ve been a big part of maintaining the ethos that it’s a compassionate, caring and loving place to be.
“We had a beautiful lady in our care many years ago who loved the Spring. She did paintings of daffodils and was desperate to see a lamb.
“I brought in our lamb Scud from home in the backseat of the car; he sat on her bed and she stroked and touched him. I have masses of memories but that’s one of my real favourites – something as simple as that. She wanted it so much and it meant so much to her.”
We first opened our hospice in Bicton, Shrewsbury, before then expanding into Telford & Wrekin in 1996 and Mid Wales in 1998. We opened our second hospice in Apley Castle, Telford in July 2008.
Last year, we supported 2,740 people – with four out of five of those cared for at home.
The care we provide is free of charge to families, but not without cost – we have to raise £2 for every £3 we spend.
There are plenty of opportunities to join our team as a member of staff or volunteer, with healthcare assistant, retail, nursing roles and more currently available.
To read more about the history we’re proud of click here.