Peter Hall from Folkestone was a familiar face at Pilgrims Hospices since its first hospice opened in Canterbury in 1982. Originally a staff nurse, he eventually joined the community team and spent most of his career supporting patients in their own homes across east Kent.
Peter was born in Germany; his father was in the army, so the family travelled often before settling in Folkestone in 1977. He married his wife, Brigid, in 1982 and together they have three daughters: Ruth (36), Rosie (33) and Ann (31).
He said: “I left school with very few qualifications, just an Art O-Level at Grade C. Whilst loafing around, I bumped into a friend doing a pre-nursing course and became inspired by a desire to help people, particularly those who were ill. So, I gathered a few more O-Levels and was accepted into nurse training at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. As part of this, I also completed mental health training at Horton Road and Coney Hill hospitals in Gloucester.”
Pilgrims was built on a foundation of loving people and wanting to serve them at a difficult time. Although initially a Christian organisation, this broad, compassionate ethos laid the foundations for the holistic secular care we have now.
Peter qualified in April 1982 and shortly afterwards became a Pilgrims nurse; he received a royal handshake from the Queen Mother when she opened the Canterbury hospice that year.
From 1982-83, he worked on the Cheerful Sparrows ward at Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate. He also nursed on the intensive care unit (ICU) at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. Peter returned to Pilgrims in 1988 as a community nurse, supporting patients in the Herne Bay, Thanet and Folkestone areas.
He continued: “I was interested in the holistic nature of palliative care and felt it was a good way to combine my general nursing skills with my mental health training. Interestingly, myself and several ICU colleagues transitioned to palliative care around the same time – Frances Guthrie, the first community nurse at Pilgrims, Penny Coe, Debbie Corke and Jenny Farran. On the ICU, even if a patient is unconscious their families are there for us to talk to, so there are similarities in the way Pilgrims care for the whole family and support them after bereavement, too.
“I loved being out and about and visiting people in their own homes, it’s a different dynamic to the wards. Even though a patient is unwell, they’re still the boss – we don’t come to take over, just to advise and help them achieve their goals as best they can. I especially enjoyed Christmas, it’s fun to see how different families celebrate!”
Peter also worked short spells on the hospice wards. This helped to remind him what the ward environment is like and how colleagues work there, and he would often liaise with them to arrange patient admissions from home to hospice. They also support the community team with syringe driver training, so that nurses like Peter can set them up for patients at home or advise via telephone.
He added: “I worked with lots of lovely people and we were lucky to have access to many different specialities between us – occupational therapists, physiotherapists, counsellors, to name just a few – which is probably something I took for granted over the years. I’ve always found teamworking really enjoyable.
“It also ties in with what drew me to palliative care; Pilgrims was built on a foundation of loving people and wanting to serve them at a difficult time. Although initially a Christian organisation, this broad, compassionate ethos laid the foundations for the holistic secular care we have now.”
I worked with lots of lovely people and we were lucky to have access to many different specialities between us
During his long career, Peter saw much change within the nursing profession:
“When I started, each nurse had their own caseload, which helped maintain continuity of care but had its downsides, too. The move to corporate caseloads, although more bureaucratic, enabled colleagues to manage your patients if you had a day off. This is where multidisciplinary teamworking shines; everyone pitches in. On the whole, it’s much better for organisation and patient care.
“Over the years, the admissions process from community into the hospice has also greatly improved, which has been nice to see.”
Spending the last part of his career nursing through a global pandemic has presented both challenges and opportunities for Peter and the wider Pilgrims workforce.
He said: “We had to do alot more online so it was tricky; IT is my nemesis! Fortunately, I had lovely colleagues who were very helpful and understanding – I’m not bothered about looking silly so am happy to ask for help. Everyone was so supportive of each other.
“I’d gone part-time by the time the pandemic started, so that eased things and not much changed for me. Telephone contact was a challenge initially, but it made me appreciate being able to visit people again when we could. We also realised that some things can actually be done more efficiently over the phone or online, so this learning will be taken into future practice. For example, we used to have in-person meetings at GP surgeries, which is very time-consuming with needing to travel back and forth, so doing these via Zoom is much better.”
Kate White, Head of Nursing at Pilgrims, added: “Peter has been the fabric of Pilgrims for so many years. His retirement is a great loss to us, but mostly to our patients and their families. Peter has always gone the extra mile, putting the patient at the centre of all he does. I have no doubt he will be remembered fondly by all the people whose lives he has touched. He takes with him a wealth of experience and knowledge as well as a great sense of humour. Peter is genuinely one of the kindest, nicest people you could wish to meet. He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. He always smiles and has a moment to ask how you are.
“I wish Peter the very best for a long and happy retirement; I am sure he will fill his time continuing to help people, he won’t be able to stop himself!”
Upon retiring, Peter has no immediate plans other than to spend time with his wife and family.
He said: “I’m going to drift into it. I’ve got a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle that I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time, so that’s first on my list!
“My wife and I are going to tidy up our church’s garden. Our daughter, Rosie, gets married soon and we’re also planning a trip to Oklahoma, USA next spring to visit our eldest daughter, Ruth, and her family, which will be lovely. We have lots to look forward to.”
We’re looking for people to join us in providing outstanding quality care and support to those who need it most.
If you’re interested in a nursing or care career at Pilgrims, we’d love to hear from you.
Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity supports patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress. Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet, as well as in patients’ own homes. To offer these services to patients and their families the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.
11th January 2022
Bousfield family’s fantastic fundraising for local hospice care
Charlotte, Mark and Hugo Bousfield from Canterbury are keen supporters of Pilgrims Hospices; to date, they have raised more than £1,300 for the charity.
They fundraise in memory of Charlotte’s mum, Jane Mounter, who received Pilgrims’ vital end-of-life care at the Thanet hospice in 2017.
Jane lived in Beltinge, Herne Bay, where she was a well-known member of the local community. She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, and a much-loved ophthalmic nurse in the outpatients department at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.
Charlotte said: “She was the life and soul of the party and has left a big hole in our lives.
“When Mum was admitted to the hospice, I was frightened because I thought it was a place of sadness where everything would be very clinical – but I was amazed from the moment I walked in. I was overwhelmed by the kindness and care that Pilgrims’ staff offered, not only to Mum but to our whole family. We could use all the different spaces, including the beautiful gardens, the family room – which was ideal with Hugo, who was four at the time – and the small chapel area for quiet moments of reflection. My mum was made to feel comfortable, reassured and, most importantly of all, normal.”
Mark and Hugo have taken part in Pilgrims’ festive fun-run, Santas on the Run! in Herne Bay, every year since 2017. The family has also supported Pilgrims’ annual Trees of Love remembrance campaign and been involved with several other fundraising activities.
As a family, they fundraise to give back and say thank you for the care Jane received, helping to ensure that others can benefit from local hospice services.
Charlotte added: “Pilgrims has become a cause incredibly close to our hearts; the work they do day in and day out to make the most painful moments in life a little bit easier, more bearable and totally human, is nothing short of amazing. We will always be grateful for those last moments with Mum in such a safe place.
“They’re a great local charity, and we are forever connected to them through my mum. Pilgrims help thousands of people every single day to make their last moments with special people matter. Through fundraising, we hope to raise awareness of this great cause and offer a small gesture that might help other families in difficult times.”
Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.
21st December 2021
The Fanneran-Mullins family melt hearts with Chocolate Oranges for Pilgrims Hospices
A Chocolate Orange treat for staff on all three Pilgrims Hospices sites was delivered by the Fanneran-Mullins family last week. As part of Team Chocolate Orange, Kevin Mullins, Katrina Fanneran-Mullins and their children have been collecting donated oranges from local schools and organisations to bring Christmas cheer. It’s their way of sending a much-deserved thank you for providing essential services 365 days a year, caring for those in need and their loved ones, and for always being there when they are needed.
The children, Ethan Fanneran-Burley, from year eight St. Anselm’s Catholic School, Kaitlyn Fanneran-Mullins, from year three and Cohen Fanneran-Mullins, from year one whom both attend Bridge and Patrixbourne CEP school arrived with boxes of chocolate treasure for the Pilgrims staff. The treats were donated by both schools, Faversham Town Walking Football, St. Stephens Golf Society, and the Royal Mail Whitstable and Herne Bay delivery offices.
The Team Chocolate Orange campaign was started by Chris Lamb, whose son, Elliott, spent a lot of time in hospital and very sadly passed away just before Christmas 2010, aged just four years old. The following year Chris decided he wanted to do something positive to cherish Elliott’s memory and Team Chocolate Orange was born. Seeing the campaign as a way to turn a negative into a positive, Chris embarked on a mission to thank NHS staff for all they did and decided to give a Chocolate Orange to as many of them as he could.
Having started in St. Helens, Merseyside in 2011 with 145 Chocolate Oranges, the campaign, now running in areas from Newcastle to London, has resulted in over 100,000 donated Chocolate Oranges being gifted to deserving recipients.
Kevin said: “With the unparalleled pressure brought about by COVID-19 on the NHS, emergency services, and care settings, we were even more determined to spread gratitude and gift appreciation under the banner of Team Chocolate Orange here in Kent. Personally, we have the extra motivation of the importance of the NHS in our own lives, as they continue to play an invaluable role in our son Ethan’s care. He is under the lifetime care of Great Ormond Street Hospital and we are excited at the prospect of sharing some joy and thanks with those who support people with the greatest need.
“My family is honoured to have joined Team Chocolate Orange and have been collecting donations of Chocolate Oranges over the past fortnight.
“It was lovely to meet with some of the Pilgrims team, the kids loved dropping off the Chocolate Oranges and were really excited that the staff will arrive at work to be greeted by a festive confectionery.”
Leila Ilkhan, Pilgrims community fundraising manager said: “On behalf of everyone at Pilgrims Hospices I would like to say a very big thank you to you for thinking of our charity and delivering chocolate oranges for our staff to enjoy.
“It is heart-warming to see people in our community wanting to spread some joy and I look forward to sharing your token of gratitude with our nurses, doctors and wider clinical teams over the next couple of days.
“Team Chocolate Orange has started something truly fantastic and it is wonderful that you are bringing this to Kent to continue this generous act of giving.”
Pilgrims supports thousands of patients and their families in east Kent each year. The charity has faced huge challenges over the last 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The gift of a chocolate orange to each of the team will no doubt be enjoyed with a cup of tea on tea breaks and lunch times. Pilgrims wish to thank Kevin, Katrina and their children for such a thoughtful gesture and would like to wish them a very merry Christmas.
You can keep up to date with Team Chocolate Orange on Facebook and Twitter.
Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.
7th July 2020
Rowing, Riding and Running Fundraiser for local hospice care in lockdown
Rob Playford from Ashford set out to complete a charity challenge to raise vital funds for Pilgrims Hospices. Rob originally planned to a 50k run in May between the Ashford and Canterbury Pilgrims Hospices and then back again, in memory of his late Mother in Law Joan Capell, who was cared for at the Ashford Hospice.
But circumstances being as they are, Rob had to soon adapt his fundraising efforts with an interim event while he patiently waited to run his original goal. Rob decided to row, ride and run for the local hospice care.
It is amazing the drive you can find when you remind yourself why you are doing something
Rob’s new idea, now called ‘Rob-athon’, began with a 1/2 marathon (21.1k) row in his garage, followed by a 30k bike ride and then to top it off, he then completed a 10k run, all back-to-back! Rob was spurred on in the final 3k by one of his team mates from Ashford Hockey Club.
Rob told us: “If someone had said to me 6 months ago you’ll be doing a 60K+ row, ride and run all in one go I would have fallen over laughing.
“But it is amazing the drive you can find when you remind yourself why you are doing something.
“It wasn’t easy but I just focused on the amazing support Pilgrims Hospices had given Joan, Sarah (my wife) and the family last year. The hospices do such an amazing job and I just wanted to show our appreciation.”
Louise Newman, Ashford Community Fundraising Manager said: “We would like to thank Rob for his ingenious Rob-athlon – row, ride, race idea and all those who have supported him to raise £1,750 and counting for end of life care in east Kent.
“The amount raised for hospice care is so valuable and will allow us to provide the best possible support to families who need us. Every £25 could pay for one hour of nursing care, either on our wards or in a patient’s own home, the funds raised through our communities own events during this challenging time, such as these, are vital to the work Pilgrims Hospices does across east Kent.”
Rob is still planning for his 50k run, but in the meantime he has managed to raise an incredible £1,750 so far and is well on his way to achieving his target. If you would still like to support him please donate here http://www.justgiving.com/Rob-Playford.
Pilgrims Hospices are still delivering compassionate end of life care to over 2,500 people in our community during this current health crisis, we are StillHere, StillCaring for people who need us in these challenging times.
There are so many ways that you can continue to support Pilgrims. Click here for some virtual fundraising ideas. If you would like to take on a challenge in support of Pilgrims we would love to hear from you. Please contact our fundraising team here.
We need you more than ever; our local community means everything to us.
This year alone, Pilgrims Hospices has to raise £11 million through voluntary donations in order to run our full range of services. Sponsorship raised through events like these helps us to continue caring for local people at the end of their lives.
3rd June 2020
Su and Zahra White walk with their memories along the Hadrian’s Wall Path
The month of June is a special time of year for Su and Zahra White, and this year they’ve chosen to walk with the memories of a very dear mum and nanny, as they challenge themselves to hiking 88-miles to raise funds for local hospice care by taking part in Pilgrims Hospices Hadrian’s Wall Path Virtual Hike.
In 2015, Su’s mum and Zahra’s nanny, Hazel Riddlesden, learnt that her cancer was now terminal. After being moved into a local care home in Herne Bay, the Pilgrims Hospices Hospice at Home Team began to support Hazel and her family to ensure she continued to live life well in mind, body and soul. The family were told that Hazel was now entering the final days of her life and together, they’d need to decide on the next steps. It was at this point that Hazel asked to be admitted to Pilgrims Hospices for her final days.
Mum asked to be admitted to Pilgrims Hospices in Canterbury as she felt they would provide the peaceful surroundings she wanted to live out her final days.” Su
Hazel spent 5 days with Pilgrims Hospices in June 2015, and the family received an overwhelming level of support and care from the nurses and the wider staff. At such a difficult time, this support enabled the family to spend Hazel’s final days together. Of the care they received, Su White said:
“I knew very little about hospices or the support they provide, but can honestly say that for the wider family it was like someone had taken away all the day-to-day stresses and wrapped all of us in a comfort blanket where we felt safe, and unconditional support. My daughter, Zahra, who was just 8 years old at the time, was very close to her wonderful nanny and she was included in the support given which was very important to us”
After spending so much time inside the house during lockdown, Su and Zahra were attracted to the Hadrian’s Wall Path Virtual Hike as it gave them a reason to explore their local countryside and to push themselves on their daily walks. The virtual hike also naturally fits with the time of year that they especially remember Su’s mum and Zahra’s nanny. Su and Zahra will be walking with the memories of Hazel this June to raise much needed funds to support the nurses, doctors and wider staff who are Still Here; Still Caring for individuals, and families, across east Kent who are living with an incurable illness.
The beautiful seaside town of Herne Bay is home to many public footpaths, open fields, woodlands and coastal paths. Su and Zahra will be taking advantage of these stunning backdrops for their daily hikes as they edge towards their goal of 88 miles to virtually complete the historic Hadrian’s Wall Path.
Su and Zahra have set up a JustGiving page to raise funds for Pilgrims Hospices – if you’d like to support their challenge, you can do here:
Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet as well as in patients’ own homes. To offer these services to patients and their families the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.