The history of the Hospice
By David Klein (The Founder)
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THIS HISTORIC PROJECT
In 1977 I was approached by medical members of a Freemasons Masonic Lodge to head a group to establish a cancer hospice in Nottingham. Apparently, my business experience , coupled with a steadfast approach to “getting things done” and “refusing to take no for an answer”- were my credentials.
My business , founded by my grandfather 60 years earlier, was well organized which allowed me to concentrate on community projects. For the next three years I travelled the UK studying the hospice movement to enable me to convey the inner workings of he Hospice to G.P.s who were unaware.
Luckily my friend Dr Neville Stebbings, from the Hyson Green Medical Centre, agreed to help. I was also fortunate in Sister Mary, of the local convent, agreeing to be the first Matron . Sister Mary had previously been chief nursing officer of The London Hospital.
During the first two years, my wife Susan and I held many meetings at our home to encourage others to join our efforts to create fund-raising groups. Some 40 religious groups were approached as I was only too aware of the reliance placed on religion within a hospice.
After negotiating with the County Council, we were given the premises at Fernleigh with just a token peppercorn rental. Then the hard work intensified. The Hospice was the original name, which morphed into The Nottingham Hospice, before finally becoming The Nottinghamshire Hospice. We turned an empty dilapidated building into a comfortable Hospice. I became a full-time beggar on behalf of the project in getting furniture, carpets, paint etc. from local industries. As the word spread volunteers came forward offering plumbing, electrical, painting and cleaning work
Susan, Sarah, our daughter, and Sister Mary did the cooking, and set the early morning fires. I paid for the food! Sister Mary and I initially did the domiciliary work before the word spread and others joined us.
I was pleased to get The Queen Mother on board. She gave us a generous donation. The Evening Post publicized our cause, and enabled our project to reach a wider audience.
Now 80 year’s old, and unfortunately not enjoying good health, I am immensely proud of having established the Hospice.
I fervently hope the people of Nottinghamshire appreciate the result of so much planning and hard work to create this fine Hospice.