In memory of Ann Robertson, who died peacefully, aged 89 years, on 7 November, 2023. An extraordinary individual who dedicated her life to providing compassionate care for those in need, we pay tribute to her remarkable achievements as the founder and lifetime President of Pilgrims Hospices. Ann’s unwavering commitment and relentless pursuit of excellence have left an indelible mark on the organisation and the countless lives it has touched. Pilgrims Hospices celebrates her lifelong dedication and the profound impact she made in the field of hospice care.
A Visionary Leader:
Ann Robertson, a visionary leader, played a pivotal role in shaping the philosophy and direction of hospice care in east Kent. The hospices were the vision of local nurse Ann, who wanted to make a difference for the people within the community facing terminal illness. It has now been more than 40 years since she worked tirelessly to open the first Pilgrims hospice in Canterbury in 1982, drawing on the generous public and business community to help her raise funds to support hospice charity. This was followed by the hospice in Thanet in 1992, and a further facility in Ashford in 2001.
Thanks to her devotion and the help of countless others, today there are over 400 staff and 1150 volunteers who together support thousands of people each year.
With her profound understanding of the importance of holistic care, she spearheaded initiatives that focused not only on physical well-being but also on emotional, spiritual, and psychological support. Ann’s tireless efforts ensured that every patient received personalised care that honoured their dignity, autonomy, and individuality.
Advocating for Quality Care:
Under Ann’s leadership, Pilgrims Hospices emerged as a leading advocate for quality end-of-life care. Recognising the significance of a multidisciplinary approach, she worked tirelessly to integrate the expertise of doctors, nurses, social workers, counsellors, spiritual care leads, therapists, and volunteers, ensuring that patients and their families received well-rounded care. Her unwavering belief in the power of compassionate companionship and active listening helped establish an environment where comfort and peace prevailed.
Extending the Reach of Hospice Care:
Ann’s dedication to expanding access to hospice care extended beyond Pilgrims Hospice’s walls. She actively collaborated with other organisations, policymakers, and community leaders to raise awareness about the importance of end-of-life care. Through her advocacy, numerous individuals and families found solace during life’s most challenging moments, through the services provided by Pilgrims Hospices.
Inspiring and Empowering Others:
Ann’s vision inspired and empowered those around her. She fostered a culture within Pilgrims Hospices that nurtured innovation, empathy, and kindness. Ann’s mentorship, guidance, and encouragement uplifted numerous healthcare providers, volunteers, and staff members to embody the values she held dear.
Leaving a Lasting Legacy:
In her lifetime of service, Ann Robertson’s imprint on Pilgrims Hospices is immeasurable. Her compassionate leadership and commitment to excellence continue to shape and inspire the organisation. The care and support offered to patients and their families stand as a testament to her enduring legacy.
As we mourn the loss of Ann Robertson, we also celebrate the incredible contributions she made to the field of hospice care. Her unwavering dedication, vision, and kindness will forever be remembered by those whose lives she touched. Ann’s legacy serves as a guiding light, motivating us to continue providing compassionate care and upholding the principles so precious to her. May her soul rest in eternal peace, knowing the profound impact she made in the lives of others.