Published Thursday 14th April 2022

When he left as Head of Facilities in 2018, Stephen’s colleagues, friends and volunteers made a collection for a leaving gift.

Stephen had always said he didn’t want anything other than something to be created out of metal to be placed in the Hospice grounds overlooking Checkley where many times he had ‘got lost’ looking out towards that landscape.

It has taken four years to decide on something, but after visiting artist Simon Probyn’s workshop along with two Hospice volunteers, they decided on the seven-foot floral sculpture that would, Stephen hoped, complement the Hospice and surrounding environment.

It symbolises the flower festivals, social gatherings raising funds for the Hospice over the years, and of course, Stephen’s love for the Hospice garden.

Stephen was also very keen for it to symbolise hope, new growth and the future.

“Hope was a word I heard so many times at St Michael’s. There was hope that a patient would feel safe, comfortable and at peace. Hope that a relative, friend or colleague could just breathe and be with their loved one, knowing everyone across the multi-discipline teams was there to help and support.

“But more than anything, hope for the future.”

The sculpture has the word ‘Hope’ inscribed on it, as well as Stephen’s initials.

Stephen is very keen on recycling so knowing Simon’s artwork is a recycled girder from a bank in Gloucester was even more special.

“I wanted something natural, rustic, and contemporary, which I think Simon has achieved,” added Stephen.

“The Hospice has been a very special friend to me over the years and I wanted to give something back for everyone to enjoy for many years to come.

“It’s very humbling to think that people took the time to give to me when I left, and write such lovely things. I can’t thank them enough, and this gift is for them, and anyone who benefits from St Michael’s.

“The Hospice is the most amazing place. It’s helped so many people. I feel excited to see what the future holds for this centre of excellence.”

Stephen’s association with the Hospice began by being a close friend to some of the original Freda Pearce Ladies who played an instrumental role in funding the original Hospice building. Stephen helped with the flowers for the Hospice’s grand opening in 1984 before joining as a volunteer.

He later became a paid member of staff, leaving in 2018 when he was Head of Facilities.