These community-spirited people, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, give their time and expertise to our charity free of charge, overseeing our strategy and performance, and ensuring excellent standards of governance at all times. With the pandemic making this year all the more challenging, we appreciate their wisdom, experience and skills more than ever, and we want to say a big thank-you to them for helping us navigate the storm. Among them are two long-serving Trustees who will be stepping down at the end of this year, so we want to especially thank them for all they have done for our Hospice.

In his time as a Trustee, retired QC Tim Barnes has lent his expertise as member of a number of committees, including Quality & Safety and Voluntary Income Generation, as well as more widely on the Board. During 15 years’ service he has also been hugely instrumental in growing support for our charity across the communities where we give our compassionate care, helping to raise many thousands of pounds so that we continue to be here for patients and families who desperately need us.

Prior to joining the Board, Tim was a supporter of the Forget Me Not appeal that raised significant funds to expand the Hospice building at Bostall Woods and the range of services provided there. More recently, over the past five years, he has dedicated himself to organising our popular Open Gardens scheme, with owners of gorgeous gardens kindly throwing open their gates over two weekends in June to welcome visitors in aid of our charity. To date, this annual highlight has raised a terrific £94,000, including the £18,000 raised via the virtual event Tim facilitated this year so that our supporters could enjoy the highlights of these horticultural havens without having to leave the safety of their own living rooms.

We are also very grateful to Tim for all his work in support of our recent Emergency Appeal, and personally leading a drive to raise £140,000 so far – a remarkable result, particularly in such turbulent times.

Tim said: “I have always been so impressed by – and grateful for – what the Hospice offers the community. Whether it is seeing the beauty of the trees blowing in the wind in the grounds at Bostall Woods or the kindness they experience at every turn when they are looked after by the Hospice team, patients are uplifted and their families are reassured.

Having had three friends receive the most wonderful care they simply wouldn’t have received elsewhere, I am even more aware of the vital difference the staff and volunteers make in helping people who are terminally ill to live well to the end of their lives.

Though I feel the time has come for me to step down as Trustee, it certainly isn’t goodbye. I shall remain hugely interested in, and supportive of, the Hospice and its vital work.”

Also stepping down is Peter Sowden. As a publisher of academic books, Peter combines commercial acumen with people management skills and communications expertise, all of which have made him another much-valued member of the Board.

However, it was Peter’s personal experience of seeing his wife Mary Ann have a good death thanks to the way she was looked after by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s community specialist palliative care nurses, who later moved to the Hospice, that, among other factors, motivated him to lend his support. During his 12 years as a Trustee he has brought his skills to the Finance, Voluntary Income Generation and Remuneration Committees as well as the wider Board, and always enthusiastically supported our fundraising events, helping to secure significant income for our charity.

Peter said: “The way that my wife Mary Ann was cared for was so good that I wanted to give something back to help make sure that other terminally ill people are similarly well supported at what is a very difficult time for them and their loved ones.

Those who work in palliative and end of life care are very special and it has been a privilege to serve on the Board of the Hospice and help further the essential work that they do.

There is always more that can be done to raise awareness of and support what is such an asset to our community, so although I am retiring as a Trustee I will continue to champion the Hospice.”

Kate Heaps, Chief Executive of Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice, said: “I am immensely grateful to Tim and Peter for going over and above for our charity for so many years, not only through their energy, enthusiasm and expertise, but by encouraging their networks of contacts to get behind us too, broadening support for our work and helping us meet the considerable challenges of providing care for the ever-increasing number of people who need us.”

My heartfelt thanks and good wishes to them, and I look forward to keeping in touch.”

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