Widow pays stunning tribute to Hospiscare

Celebrations held in Honiton to mark charity’s 30th anniversary.

Celebrations have been held in Honiton to mark a significant milestone in the history of a local charity that has touched the lives of countless families.

The 30th anniversary of Hospiscare was marked with a cake and coffee afternoon in the Mackarness Hall.

Last Thursday’s event was organised by funeral directors Penny and Paul Shoobridge and was supported by a large crowd.

The fund-raiser was taking place as widow Gigi Walker paid a stunning tribute to Hospiscare’s work. Her husband, Bob, died on July 20.

His funeral service took place yesterday (Tuesday) and Hospiscare’s lead nurse in Honiton, Angela Phillips, read a poem at the service. Mrs Walker, who lives in Honiton, told the Midweek Herald the charity had provided “months of support”, which is on-going.

Referring to Mrs Phillips, she said: “That woman is just a saint, really.

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“She always has a smile on her face and goes the extra mile.

“She is a lovely, lovely woman and she has been there for me as well as Bob. I don’t know what I would have done without her, because she has been there for everything - even when Bob was in hospital.”

Hospiscare’s high quality, professional support meant that Mr Walker was able to be cared for at home, where he died peacefully.

Mrs Walker added: “Angela gave me lots of advice afterwards. She was there 150 per cent. Sometimes, I felt guilty calling her up all the time.

“It is a blessing to have a woman like that in your life when you are going through this. She’s never let me down.”

As well as providing an outstanding palliative care service, Hospiscare is at the heart of social events in Honiton.

In fact, it is one of the town’s biggest providers of social occasions - covering everything from supper evenings to musical delights and even parties to mark events of national importance.

Hospiscare was founded at a public meeting in Exeter on January 21 in 1982, when a speech by a then 39-year-old Dr John Searle galvanised already strong support for the creation of a palliative care charity. More than 600 people attended the meeting.

Dr Searle was inspired to support the creation of a hospice in Exeter after attending a lecture given by Dame Cicely Saunders who founded the hospice movement.

Three decades later, Hospiscare is one of the best known - and loved - charities in Exeter and East Devon. And its services extend far beyond end of life care, providing bereavement support to families, complementary therapies, activities and, as people in Honiton know, some pretty impressive days and nights out, too.

The backbone of the charity is its staff and army of volunteers.

Hospiscare’s Honiton and District Support Group, led by Eileen Rooke BEM, affectionately known as ‘she who must be obeyed’, receives excellent support from the charity’s fund-raising co-ordinator, Barry Carpenter, who is a familiar face in the town.

You can be part of Hospiscare’s success story by becoming a volunteer. Call Mrs Rooke on 01404 831866 to find out more.