Monday, April 15, 2024

Trudi Recounts Hospice Journey To U3A

On Wednesday 30 June the Thurrock branch of U3A held its monthly meeting at the Civic Hall, Grays.

Maggie Whitbread, Chairperson, announced that the birthday celebration party on 25 August meeting would start at 11.00 a.m.

The computer courses, held at the Grays School, that have proved to be so popular successful will re-start in September with both beginners and advanced courses being on offer.

The speaker was Trudy Westmore-Cox. M.B.E. founder of St. Luke’s Hospice. She told us of her origins in Germany, daughter of a Methodist minister. She came to England as a trainee nurse at the age of 18. Serving at a number of London hospitals, including the renowned Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital, she was especially concerned with the suffering caused by that disease. She determined to specialise in the palliative measures designed to alleviate much of the worst symptoms of the disease.

Eventually becoming a District Nurse, she was able to study the effects of cancer at first hand in the home environment.

She gradually gathered a team around her dedicated to ensuring that suffering was brought down to a minimum. They were also concerned with the strains put upon the families and carers of sufferers.

Eventually they realised that work in the home and the community was not enough and that some form of permanent premises would be necessary, not only to provide a 24 hour service to more seriously affected patients but to allow respite care for the carers. One of Trudy’s patients offered to start a fund with a donation of 25p.

Armed with this amount Trudy toured the Estate Agents looking for suitable premises. Surprisingly, at the third attempt, one of them took her at her word.

He had a derelict farmhouse in Basildon on his books, ideally situated next door to the hospital and with a good outlook. It was not ideal but it had prospects of becoming so. Between they vegan to raise the necessary funding.

The hospice opened in 1990 and has served as a refuge, a respite home and a haven where the relief of pain and a good quality of life have been the watchwords ever since.

In addition to her work Trudy was married and has brought up a family.

Trudy was awarded the M.B.E. in recognition of her work.


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