Jeannie Young’s connection with St Richard’s goes right back to its inception. Jeannie was at the very first meeting at St Andrew’s Church in Droitwich. She says that that the idea of finding a better way to look after dying people and their families left her feeling truly energised. Jeannie had herself trained as a nurse and later a midwife at hospitals in Birmingham and Worcester. She married a farmer, Rob Young, and they were both involved in getting in St Richard’s in its early days. Jeannie ended up being a governor for 24 years including 6 years as Chairman of the Governors, steering St Richard’s through many phases including the moves to Castle Street and Rose Hill, the setting up of the Education Unit, the creation of the first hospice shop, and finally the Capital Appeal for and the building of bedded unit in Wildwood Drive. In designing the new building, Jeannie and Care Director Rachel Bucknall toured the country visiting countless hospices and seeing what worked and what didn’t. Jeannie retired in 2007 just after the new hospice opened.
Jeannie’s background in nursing and personality meant that she often sat with and cared for friends and neighbours when they were ill or dying. She knew Dr Jenny Bulman through medical and Christian circles so when she first heard of Jenny’s idea to create a hospice for Worcestershire, she jumped at the chance to be involved. In this first extract, Jeannie talks about the first hospice meeting organised by Jenny Bulman in Droitwich and how this led to the forming of a steering committee. Later she mentions her role in finding and funding the premises in Castle Street.
Although Jeannie continued to work night shifts at Ronkswood, she was also very active on the committee and as a volunteer with St Richard’s through the second half of the 1980s. With the arrival of new staff, the development of more professional working practises, the ability to attract more funding and a continual need for their services, St Richard’s grew rapidly and, as Jeannie explains in this next extract, soon Castle Street was ‘bursting at the seams’.
The hospice continued to thrive and grow in its new premises at Rose Hill, and Jeannie continued her involvement as a governor. In 2001 she became Chairman of Governors, stepping up to the mark during another period of expansion and change for St Richard’s, which she details in this extract.
One of Jeannie Young’s extraordinary legacies to St Richard’s is her involvement in the development of the design for the new hospice. Along with Care Director Rachel Bucknall, Jeannie was responsible for touring the country and looking at what other hospices had done. In this final extract from her interview, she talks about the openness of the hospices they visited, what they learnt and how they incorporated this into the design of the inpatient unit at Wildwood.