Dedicated staff recognised for 100 years of service at Wigan's hospice

A charity boss has hailed the “remarkable achievement” of four women who have dedicated more than 100 years to helping patients and their families.

Kay Smallman has worked at Wigan and Leigh Hospice for 30 years, Susan Callaghan for 22 years, Yvonne Tague for 21 years and Vicki Rimmington for 32 years.

Read More
Heartbreak as 'warrior' Wigan mum dies from cancer aged 27
Hide Ad

Clinical director Vicki McLoughlin said: “This is a remarkable achievement to clock up so many years of service to the hospice.

Kay and Susan with flowers given in recognition of their long service

“They have made a difference to the lives of so many and I would like to thank them on behalf of the hospice and all those people for their care, their compassion and their dedication.”

Senior staff nurse Kay, from Atherton, began her training at the hospice in 1991 and became a member of staff in 1995.

Hide Ad

She said: “We are meeting people at their most vulnerable, both in terms of their physical health and their emotional health, and we are supporting carers and families who may never have had to deal with the loss of a loved one before. As staff this can be difficult to address, as everybody handles grief and loss differently and this needs to be handled with care and compassion.

“People often think the hospice is a depressing place, but patients do not lose their sense of humour and very often have us in stitches when recalling events in their life. We`ve also held weddings and christenings during my time with the hospice.

Hide Ad

“I love what I do and where I do it.”

Healthcare assistant Susan found her calling when her grandfather Fred Collier, who had lung cancer, spent time at the hospice.

Hide Ad

He died at home in Leigh on July 4, 1999, aged 85, and Susan, from Hindley, started working at the hospice just a few months later on February 14, 2000.

She said: “He was in room 18 and I remember one day I went into his room. He was really upset and Debbie, one of the nurses, was sat on the floor holding his hand and that’s when I saw a totally different kind of care. When I turned the corner and saw how she was with him, that stuck with me forever.

Hide Ad

“I think a lot of people find death a difficult subject; they think it’s all doom and gloom, but we spend time talking to patients, reminiscing with them, looking at their photographs.”

Yvonne, a senior staff nurse, said: “I always work nights and it’s a challenge, but what makes it special is having that time to listen to patients. Patients are often awake at night and want to talk to you. You build up a relationship with them and listen to them. I hold their hands when they are scared. What makes a difference is often the little things – giving them a hand massage, giving them your attention. There’s nothing nicer than knowing you have done everything you can for that person."

Hide Ad

Finance clerk Vicki Rimmington said: “I began working at the hospice not long after leaving school and I’ve stayed because I’ve been lucky enough to always work with a great team. The hospice plays an important part in looking after the most vulnerable members of our community and I’m proud to play a part in that.”