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Hospice worker retires after three decades

16 May 2018

A domestic team worker has retired from Saint Francis Hospice in Essex at the age of 84, after 31 years of service.

For more than three decades Margaret Fitzpatrick may have ensured Saint Francis Hospice was spick and span, but what she will be remembered for is the compassion and comfort she brought to patients and their families at the most difficult time of their lives.

Margaret is originally from Ballinderry, a small village in Tipperary, but has been living in Essex for 40 years. She started working at the hospice just three days after it opened, and decided it was finally time to hang up her uniform last month.

The mother of four and grandmother of two has another personal connection with the hospice, as her husband James was cared for here before he died of cancer 16 years ago.

More than 100 staff and volunteers, past and present, gathered together at the hospice’s Pepperell Education Centre to wish her all the best in her retirement. Margaret said:

“The hospice has been so much more than a job, it is a second home to me. I have loved working with the staff and it is so nice to be there for the people who are distressed if they need your help, and to be able to talk to them.”

“I have learned a lot, hopefully I have given a lot and I have been repaid a million times over for all the time I spent there.”

The day was made even more special as her daughter Rose Fitzpatrick, who is Deputy Chief Constable of Police for Scotland and one of the most senior ranking female officers in the UK, flew down from Edinburgh to share in her mum’s moment. Rose said:

“Being part of the hospice team means so much to mum, and as a family we are all so proud of her amazing achievement. “It is really heartwarming to know that her determination to put the patient first has made a difference to so many people over 30 years."

However Margaret, who was presented with a 30-year Long Service Award last year, has no intention of taking it easy and plans to return to the hospice as a volunteer.

Pam Court, Chief Executive Officer said:

“The farewell and happy retirement was an extraordinary event with staff and volunteers from past and present coming out in force for this very special lady.”

“Margaret has been an outstanding member of staff for the hospice for 31 years. Her caring for the patients and families always shone through as she went about her day to day cleaning role.”

“She has made many friends and we hope to welcome her back as a volunteer and just to come and visit us as she will be really missed.”

For more information visit Saint Francis Hospice

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