"It was in the mid nineteen-seventies that the idea of a hospice in Herefordshire was first conceived. I was then in general practice in the City of Hereford and was looking after a patient, and very good friend, with advanced cancer. Having been deeply involved throughout his illness and subsequent death, I was acutely aware of the devastating effects my friend's disease had on him and his young family, the gaps in my knowledge of the control of distressing symptoms and my feelings of inadequacy when dealing with death and bereavement. All these were compounded by the lack of appropriate facilities locally.
My wife and I visited a number of hospices around the UK and were deeply impressed by the very special atmosphere in each of the units and the outstanding care given, not just to the patients, but also their families. I was very keen to improve my skills in the care of the dying, and for the next three years, I spent all my study leave working in hospices.
We became increasingly convinced of the need for a hospice locally but quickly discovered that it was not something we could achieve on our own. In July 1979, I attended a meeting during which it was announced that a lady named Freda Pearce had completed her appeal for a body scanner at Cheltenham General Hospital and was now planning to raise money for a hospice in Herefordshire! I arrived on Freda's doorstep the morning after the meeting, introduced myself and announced that we shared a common ambition. The effect was electric; in no time at all Freda was planning a fundraising campaign. Using her existing group as a base, a number of potentially interested people were approached and a fundraising and planning committee was formed. The appeal was launched a few weeks later and there was immediate interest and enthusiasm locally. The support of the general public, from the outset, was amazing, and has always been the main source of income."