Debbie’s Diary March 2020

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It has been a privilege for me to work with a fantastic team – and Paula Wood has undoubtedly been one of the stars at Butterwick Hospice Care.

Paula has been with the charity for 19 years and, for the past five of them, has been Director of Patient Care and Service Development. She started with us as a nurse and has gone on to be a key figure at the hospice.

Sadly, Paula has decided to step down and move on to other challenges, but I want to take this opportunity to thank her for all she has done. Not only has she been a great source of support professionally, but she has also helped me enormously on a personal level.

Among many other initiatives, she was responsible for setting up three outreach hospices and went on to set up the neurological services at Barnard Castle and Bishop Auckland. Paula was also responsible for developing the family support service across Bishop Auckland and setting up the Homecare service, making sure patients have access to the best possible care at home, and that has meant so much to many families.

She has made a huge difference to the organisation, and she will be big shoes to fill, but it’s my job now to find the right person to carry on Paula’s great work.

Thank you, Paula, and good luck for the future.

I was delighted to see the recent story in the local papers about Luke Porritt, who has risen from being a volunteer in our Stockton shop to take over as manager.

By his own admission, Luke was lacking self-confidence when he joined us 12 years ago, and it has been inspiring to see how he has grown during that time.

We were privileged to care for Luke’s mum, Celia, after she was diagnosed with a terminal illness and he has done her proud with his enthusiasm and professionalism.

He has now succeeded his mentor, Wilma Hastie, as manager of the Stockton shop and he personifies the holistic approach Butterwick Hospice Care takes.

Encouraging volunteers, and giving them invaluable experience, is just one of the ways we can make a difference to our local community and I’m so proud of what Luke has achieved.