Jenny Bulman is the inspiration behind St Richard’s. She explains that her passion to set up a hospice service in Worcestershire was the result of several things, but one of the most important was hearing a radio programme about a young women’s death in an Oxford hospice. Everything about it sounded just right. Jenny set about finding out more, visited other hospices and gathered local interest. This resulted in forming the first St Richard’s committee, raising funds through ‘snowball’ lunches and creating a small team of volunteers who could put the service into practise. Jenny steered the fledgling organisation through its first year operating from her house in Droitwich and its next two from a small terraced house in Castle Street before stepping back. She continues to be a passionate supporter of the hospice movement.
Jenny Bulman started her working life as a nurse but retrained as a doctor in Birmingham in the mid 1960s. In the 70s and early 80s she was working part-time as a clinical assistant in obstetrics and gynaecology at the hospitals in Worcester and Evesham, whilst also bringing up her young family.
In the following extract, she talks of how little time and training were given to end of life care, why she became interested in the hospice movement and how the first meeting of what would become St Richard’s came about.
In the early days of setting up the hospice, Jenny and her small steering committee were faced with many challenges, not the least of which was persuading local GPs to accept the new service. They also needed to raise enough money to pay for it. In this extract, Jenny explains how they tackled these issues.
After months of fundraising and preparation, the hospice finally began operating in May 1984. In this extract, Jenny talks about all the things they had to get in place prior to the spring launch of St Richard’s.
Within a year it was becoming obvious that the hospice needed new premises. Up until this point, it had been run from a room in Jenny’s house but by 1985 the search was on for a new building which would allow the service to expand. In the following extract, Jenny talks about the development of the hospice and the move to Castle Street in Worcester.