Published Monday 5th December 2016

One of the founder members of Herefordshire’s only Hospice has been appointed the charity’s first ever Lifetime Patron.

Richard Miller played an integral part in setting up St Michael’s Hospice in 1984.

A former GP, and Trustee at the Bartestree-based Hospice, his dedication to the charity was recognised during its AGM when the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Alister Walshe, presented him with the inaugural honour.

‘I was very proud and quite humbled,’ said Richard.

‘It’s a fantastic privilege.’

Richard said it is those Hospice staff on the frontline who ‘make it what it is’.

He said he came up with the idea for a hospice while in general practice in Hereford at a time when there was little understanding of symptom control, and people often died in pain.

Someone who shared his vision was the late Freda Pearce who was also instrumental in establishing St Michael’s.

‘I first met up with Freda in 1979 but I had been very interested in the hospice idea before that,’ he said.

‘I thought it would be wonderful if Herefordshire had one.

‘I’m absolutely gobsmacked at what it has become.

‘So many people have been touched by St Michael’s over the years. Barely a week goes by when someone tells me how they or someone they know has been affected by the Hospice in a good way.’

Also honoured during the AGM was the Hospice’s Head of Facilities, Stephen Rabbitts, who was presented with the Freda Pearce Award which recognises a staff member who has made a difference to the organisation, and shown energy, drive and commitment to make an idea a success.

The Richard Miller Award, open to anyone who has undertaken exceptional volunteer work in support of the Hospice or its patients, relatives or friends, was handed to Chaplaincy Team volunteer, Priscilla Hebblethwaite.

And the Jeff Kramer Award, presented to Hospice teams which have made a notable contribution to St Michael’s through an exceptional idea or innovative practice, was won by the Events and Community Fundraising team of Matt Ashcroft, Gaynor Warren, Nicki Lloyd and Paddy Nugent.