Retired nurse Pam Gilfoyle is not just a volunteer in Wirral Hospice St John’s Claughton shop, special though that is. She is a founder member of the Hospice’s army of volunteers.
Pam reading the thank you letter she received from Mr Hebron in 1982
Pam’s story is an inspiring one. In 1979, her husband Neville died of cancer. Their son was just five. During Neville’s last days in hospital, Pam’s thoughts turned to the idea that people who were in his situation should be cared for in a place other than a busy hospital ward: somewhere that was calm and peaceful, where tender loving care and understanding was offered.
One of the ambulance men who had taken Neville into hospital then asked Pam and her son to a Christmas party for children, and it was there that Pam met Mr Edgar (Eddie) Hebron MBE, the chairman of the committee trying to turn the idea of St John’s Hospice, as it was originally known, into reality.
So Pam enlisted as a fundraiser. Her first thought was a coffee morning, but this quickly grew into the idea of a dinner dance. Working on her own, with support from friends but no formal committee, Pam organised the first ever dinner dance in aid of the Hospice, held on 7th January 1982, which raised the phenomenal total of £1,300. “I had never done anything like it before,” said Pam. “If it turned out badly I didn’t want anyone else to take the blame. But luckily, it was a great success.”
It’s easy to see why we call her a Hospice Hero.
Author: Jacinta Warwick