Willen Hospice receives visit from Captain Sir Tom’s family on the anniversary of his passing

Willen Hospice were delighted to receive a visit from the family of Captain Sir Tom earlier this week to show them the difference their family’s support has made as they marked the anniversary of Captain Sir Tom’s death.

Captain Sir Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and his grandson, Benjie Ingram-Moore attended the site.

Last year, The Captain Tom Foundation generously donated £40,000, to help fund a new Children and Family Social Worker for the Hospice. This will help the local charity to support families who have been impacted by a terminal diagnosis, and to develop the service overall.

The new role enables the Hospice to offer pre and post bereavement support to children and young people – in particular supporting parents and relatives to tell children about their terminal diagnosis and dealing with the emotional issues that arise for the whole family. This includes using age appropriate resources, books, and exploring memory work. In additional to emotional support, the project has helped people with a number of practical factors, such as advising blended families on guardianship of children and young people, legal support with Wills, and contact arrangements with partners who have helped to raise children but are not their birth parent.

The Social Worker also offers advice to local educational establishments, including SEND schools, and raising awareness of behaviours associated with grief and where to access emotional support, locally and nationally. The Hospice are currently establishing a resource library, where specialist books can be loaned to local families.

Jackie McLeod, the new Children and Family Social Worker, whose role has been funded thanks to The Captain Tom Foundation, said, “I see it as a great privilege to work for Willen Hospice, and I feel very proud to work here. I am very honoured that families will let me come in at a very challenging time, when a person is actually dying, and they trust me to support their families once they are gone. “It has been amazing to get this funding for this post and to create a holistic service. It means so much for me to say, ‘We are going to be there for your family when you are not around, and we will support them.’ It allows people to have a good death.”

Hannah Ingram-Moore, who met with Jackie at the Hospice today [2 February], said, “It’s so wonderful to see my father’s legacy live on here in Willen Hospice, particularly on this one-year anniversary of his passing.

“Coming here today, you can feel this incredible aura of peacefulness. It has been wonderful to hear the explanations of what happened with the money donated in my father’s memory through The Captain Tom Foundation, and the difference it has made. Everything we do we counsel my Dad, even now, we think ‘What would he have thought about that? Are we making the right decision in his name?’ and I genuinely believe if he walked through these doors he would be thrilled. He would be so proud to see the impact he has had.”

Peta Wilkinson, Willen Hospice Chief Executive, said “The donation from The Captain Tom Foundation is amazing. We are a charity who receive about 18% of our funding from the NHS, the rest of our money has to be fundraised from the local community and through generous gifts such as this one. We have deployed that money to this fabulous service, which supports children and young people and their families through pre and post bereavement at a time that is difficult for the families, and often in very complex situations. The idea was to ensure to money donated by The Captain Tom Foundation would fund a service that was completely in tune with Captain Sir Tom’s values, and the values of the Foundation, and we felt this was the perfect mix. This is a fitting tribute and lasting legacy of what Captain Sir Tom gave to the world.”

So far, the Children and Family Social Worker has supported more than 85 families and 250 children and young people. Without the support of the Captain Tom Foundation, the Hospice would not have been able to introduce the post of Children and Families Social Worker.

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