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Sharing Precious Memories

Sharing Precious Memories


Over the course of 40 years countless people have had an impact on the Hospice and its care. From 'The Originals' who made it all possible, to volunteers, staff, supporters and fundraisers along the way - they have all helped shape The Hospice of St Francis.

Here are the stories of just a few of those who made a difference...

We would love to hear from you if you would like to share a memory of the Hospice!

Share your memories of 40 years of our care!

Your Memories

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The Originals (Stories of our founders)

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Pam Macpherson
Erica Hughes
Mary Rattee
Angela Russell-Smith
Thelma Childs
Dr Janet Squire


Reminiscences of Staff, Volunteers and Supporters

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Barbara Burles
Harry Sheldon
Canon Roger Davis
Anne Frew
Margaret Pike
Dr Ros Taylor MBE
Hilary McNair
Sharon Kelly


Moving from the old Hospice to new

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Joan Gentry
Neil Aitchison
Derek Townsend
Jo Connell OBE DL (centre)
Humphrey Norrington


40th Volunteer Series

- Over the next 40 weeks we'll be showcasing a different volunteer each week

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Liz and Tony
Bryan and Jo


RalphOver 25 years ago, when I was just a child, my mum became sick. The Hospice cared for her and I have memories of visiting as a child and it being such a friendly place. My dad thought so highly of the care provided that as he grew older and us kids needed him around less he took a very active part in fundraising. In 2008 as a family we took part in the first Santa dash. Dad was recognised and asked if in future he would be their official santa, and he did, each year. Even one year he completed the midnight walk with the stars in a bright pink Santa suit for wear it pink.

In September 2019 my dad became ill. It was an unexpected discovery, he was admitted into hospital with dehydration following a stomach bug that we had all had! But they found cancer. It must have been quite aggressive, it turned up in multiple organs and they couldn't diagnose the primary site. He tried to remain cheerful, thinking of others to the end. Kept apologising to my brother and I for putting us through it again. But he wanted to be at the Hospice. We were all so happy as a family that he was there. He got some special treatment with "welcome Santa" written on his door and a Christmas blanket hung up on his bed. He really perked up. Would phone me in the morning telling me he had ice cream or sorbet for breakfast, like a naughty boy.

The Hospice was warm and welcoming, dad had a lot of visitors and no one was turned away and nothing was too much trouble. The nurses moved him into the lounge when he had visits from family and one Sunday even welcomed the salvation army band. He will be missed by so many, but my heartfelt thanks go to the hospice for giving him such a wonderful purpose while he was well, and taking such fantastic care of him when he wasn't. Thank you. 

​Katie Gray



Alford Arms Crew

My darling Dad was a volunteer at the Hospice Inpatient Unit as is my Mum. In January 2017 after a horrendous Christmas with them both being very unwell Dad was asked if he would like to go to the Hospice for respite care. He didn’t falter. The care, compassion and love we were all given was something I will never forget and there are no words to thank the wonderful staff in the IPU enough. Sadly, two weeks to the day that Dad arrived he sadly lost his fight with Mum and I holding his hands. Mum returned as a volunteer six months later and absolutely loves what she does. Thank you Hospice of St Francis for everything. 

​Tanya Gann

Alford Arms Crew

The Alford Arms crew on Carer’s Day!

​Becky Salisbury

My husband, Richard, died 5 years ago next November. He wasn't an inpatient at the Hospice but we came to lots of outpatient courses and events. We both learnt a lot, had loads of support and help and lots of laughs. Rich was going to do an article for the magazine just before he died, he loved the laughs we had there and the great people we met. After he died, I went for counselling. Hospice care doesn't stop. When my time comes, I'm hoping they'll be there for me too. Marvellous place and people.

​Lorraine Harwood Stamper

My sister passed away just over 3 and half years ago at the hospice. The care she received was like being looked after by an angels. There was not a moment when there was not a member of staff to talk to, offer a cup of tea or tend to her or me and my mums needs. I remember all the little bits and pieces that made her care extra special, like the catheter bag covers, pretty nighties, snuggly teddy blankets.

Dr Sharon will always hold a place in my heart as she is the first person we saw when we arrived, and probably without realising gave me comfort that Louise would be looked after.

Since I lost Louise, I have volunteered at the hospice in a couple of departments and made various bits for the inpatients unit. When I go back to the hospice I feel close to Louise and feel the warmth again that I felt when she died. Initially I thought Hospices were scary places but I could not have been more wrong. It is more like a family with open arms.

​Jenny Bennett

My gorgeous Mum spent the final 5 weeks of her life at the Hospice. We had only just lost my Dad and the Hospice scooped us all up in their incredible supporting arms and allowed us to spend precious time with my Mum. My family and I were able to carry on making incredible memories with my Mum right up to the end.

We shared much laughter and were able to say all the things we wanted to each other. She was where she wanted to be at the end and the whole organisation made a very difficult situation much more bearable.

They have supported me with counselling and I have been very proud to fund raise for the Hospice including the latest Biggest Loser programme. Thank you to you all for everything you do - you are amazing!!!

Karen Grant

My mum June Knowles spent 3 weeks in the Hospice and passed away on 2.7.10. 
The care she and our family received was out of this world.

I decided to come and work for the hospice to give back and I have been a shop manager for over 8 years now, its the best job I have ever had.

​Jackie Grew


Ray 1Ray 2Dyer 3Dyer 4

My late younger brother Ray – or Cllr Raymond Dyer, as he was known to many – made the Hospice his focus and his hobby after the untimely death of my dear sister-in-law Betty to breast cancer when she was just 60.

Betty was Ray’s beloved wife of nearly 40 years and she passed away at the old Hospice in Shrublands Road in October 1991.

Ray couldn’t have been more grateful for the Hospice’s kindness, care and love - not only for Betty in the last months of her illness, but for its bereavement care for him afterwards.

After Betty’s death, he worked tirelessly to support the Hospice’s work. He ran a book and bric-a-brac stall of donated items on Berkhamsted Market for many years - receipts I’ve found total over £6,018.

On 1st August 1993 he and his beloved pet Labrador Sam raised £1,456 for the Hospice by completing what called a sponsored ‘Berkhamsted Bypass Walkies’ immediately after this 7-mile stretch of the A41 was built but a few weeks before it was officially opened in September that year.

Sam was a super dog – he took the place of Betty and was so wonderful to Ray. He was an honorary member of the Friends of the Hospice and even bore a badge on his collar to say so! He accompanied Ray on his fundraising ventures and raised funds on his own by finding lost golf balls on their many walks around the golf course, which were then sold back to golf club members. Ray had a nerve but he got away with it!

In 1995, during his year as Mayor of Berkhamsted, Ray chose the Hospice as his official charity and among other things raised over £500 by organising a quiz night and raffle at Berkhamsted Civic Centre. Over 20 teams battled it out and he managed to secure over 30 raffle prizes, including a giant teddy bear which Ray had won in a Royal British Legion raffle and a camera which Sam had won in a raffle at a Sergeant Pepper concert.

Ray loved the Hospice and he loved Berkhamsted, his town where he’d lived all his life and died after many happy years at the age of 81 in August 2012.

We donated the proceeds from his funeral collection to the Hospice, along with the contents of a jar of coppers Ray always kept on the shelf.

He would have been so proud to celebrate the Hospice’s 40th birthday and it’s such a shame he’s no longer with us to do so but I’m looking forward to celebrating on his behalf by coming to your Garden Party and Open Afternoon with my best friend and chauffeur Kim, so I can thank you in person for everything you’ve done for our family.”

Doreen Lister (nee Dyer), aged 89


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