John Bawden’s first connection with the hospice movement was back in the 1970s in his native Cornwall, when his mother was involved in the foundation of Mount Edgcombe hospice. His first next connection with St Richard’s was through his friends Rob and Jeannie Young when he moved to Worcester in the 1980s, and later through his wife Carol, who organised the Worcestershire Woman of the Year competition.
John took early retirement from a successful career in business, working first for the Milk Marketing Board and later for Cadbury Scwheppes. He was asked by Andrew Grant to join the St Richard’s Capital Appeal Committee and helped raise over £5 million needed for the new hospice. He later became a governor and on Jeannie Young’s retirement in 2007, he agreed to become Chair of Governors. In his interview, John talks about the Capital Appeal, the growth of the hospice, key people involved in its development and plans for the future.
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John’s business skills were first put to good use for St Richard’s when the Capital Appeal was launched in 2004. They needed to raise £5.25 million to build the new hospice. Each sub-committee had a target and in this extract, John recalls how he met his.
John’s involvement has never been restricted to board rooms. On one occasion he spent about 5 hours trying to mow the hospice site – then a bumpy field – to get it ready for an event. As the building went up, it looked huge and daunting. It was only when the equipment arrived that John began to realise what they had achieved. In this extract, he remembers visiting patients soon after the first 8 had arrived.
John has now been Chair of Governors for more than 10 years and has plenty of plans for the future of St Richard’s. In this final extract, he thanks the founders of St Richard’s for setting out on the right path 30 years ago. Perceptions of death, dying and the role of hospices have changed forever.