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Saint Francis Hospice celebrates staff's outstanding work at 35th birthday celebration event

PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 July 2019

Saint Francis Hospice celebrated 35 years of helping the sick last week. Picture: SFH

Saint Francis Hospice celebrated 35 years of helping the sick last week. Picture: SFH

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Saint Francis Hospice celebrated 35 years helping unwell people across east London at a special event last week.

Saint Francis Hospice celebrated 35 years of helping the sick last week. Picture: SFHSaint Francis Hospice celebrated 35 years of helping the sick last week. Picture: SFH

More than 50 people attended the hospice's special birthday service at St John the Evangelist Church in Havering-atte-Bower on Tuesday, July 23.

Among them was the Mayor of Havering Councillor Michael Deon Burton.

The hospice, in a 19th century mansion, first opened with only 10 beds and a small number of staff. Everybody was involved with everything such as fundraising and cleaning.

Fast forward to now, there are 250 members working to support the hospice.

Anthony Smith and Peter Kershaw, the charity's first medical directors in 1984, used to volunteer 24 hours a day and 52 weeks a year.

Such dedication has become a part of the hospice's ethos and is still expected from today's members of staff.

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The charity's chief executive officer Pam Court attended the church service alongside many others, including several of those who ran the London Marathon for the hospice this year.

"Our birthday service was an opportunity to remember the patients and families who have been cared for and supported by our hospice," Pam said.

Saint Francis is a special place because of the staff's amazing work, and the celebration was to also recognise the work that staff and volunteers had done for more than three decades.

Gill Wendelken, voluntary services manager and one of the longest serving members of the hospice's staff, made a speech at the event in which she described her experience working at the charity as a "privilege" and a "pleasure."

At the conclusion of the service, attendees were invited to the hospice to enjoy some tea and birthday cake.

Funding for Saint Francis Hospice is highly important, as it cares for more than 4,000 people and employs 150 medical staff. It provides all its services for free to support individuals with any life limiting illness including cancer, heart, lung or motor neurone disease.

For Saint Francis Hospice to keep celebrating and giving back to the community it needs £7.8million a year.

If you want to help the charity get to 36 years, email them at fundraising@sfh.org.uk or call 01708753319.

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