New Lancaster charity patrons make their mark

St John’s Hospice has appointed its first patrons since the late 80s to support the charity's work across the community.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 2:40 pm
Updated Monday, 1st March 2021, 10:54 am
New St John's Hospice patron Mike Warren.

A patron is an unpaid role carried out by someone who has a long-standing interest in a charity and wants to dedicate more support to it.

Appointing two patrons is an important step for St John’s as the hospice looks to further its efforts to help people understand what our local hospice does in the area, how it can help patients and families and the range of support services that people may not know about and are there for them.

The two patrons are people you may be familiar with: Mike Warren, a former GP, worked with St John’s more than 35 years ago when the St John of God Hospital first opened in Silverdale.

New St John's Hospice patron Pam Barber.

Mike, the first Hospice Medical Officer, was formally director, worked with Sister Aine, supporters and fundraisers to get St John’s up and running.

This was at a time when hospice care was a new concept to many. Mike knows all about St John’s history and how it has grown to the local hospice we know today.

He recently retired as trustee, having been chairman some years ago, and worked extensively in regional and national roles in the hospice world

Mike said: “Hospice care has widened over the years, from being solely an inpatient unit to offering much of its support in the community, yet St John’s purpose remains the same – to provide outstanding palliative care to people with life-shortening illnesses, while supporting their families.

"I’m really looking forward to getting out there to answer people’s questions about the work of a hospice – especially the difficult questions. Anything I can do to help hospice care be there for the next 35 years and beyond is work well worth doing.”

Pam Barker, known by many for her work as Constable of Lancaster Castle, will also take up her role as a patron of St John’s.

Many will also know of Pam’s role as the head at Lancaster Girls' Grammar School (where she was known by her professional name of Barber), and this experience will be used as St John’s gets ready for its new Children and Family Bereavement Centre.

Pam said: “I see this as a very special role because it is about supporting a vital local charity. For me, it’s about being out in the community, in person or virtually, to raise awareness of St John’s care.

"I know St John’s well and their work genuinely interests me personally; it is a practical, hands-on charity that makes a huge difference, quietly and with dignity.

"We need St John’s to be there for patients and families because we all know someone who has been touched in one way or another by their care.”

St John's chief executive Sue McGraw said: "It is really important to St John’s that our patrons are the right patrons. We are a charity that is grounded in grass roots care for people approaching the end of life.

"This means we need patrons who intimately understand our work and are approachable so that they can champion St John’s care in the hospice and inside patient homes. This way St John’s can be at the forefront of people’s minds for when they need our care and support.”