Charlie Wells – Shipston Home Nursing, the inspiration. In May 1992 my sister, Penny Birtwell, died in Stourton. She was young. She died of breast cancer. Her husband, Andy, and her children, George and Beatrice, graciously and generously allowed us, her siblings, to share being with her and caring for her. Witnessing Penny’s death was deeply painful, but it also gave me the chance to see the enormous value in caring for someone who is so very poorly, in their own home.
I chose to work in palliative care as a direct result. It was difficult, however, to know how to start to set up such a service. I started to have tentative discussions about this with Dr Chris Thorogood and Dr Theo Schofield, both general practitioners at the Shipston Medical Centre. They, too, were very keen on exploring the idea.
The pace of things started to pick up after this. It seemed as though fate took a hand in the next few months and wonderful people from the area started to show an enormous interest in the service. Andrew Knight, founder Chairman, threw his energy, advice and enthusiasm behind the project and headed up the original committee, which established a wonderful board of Trustees and supporters. Dr Chris Thorogood took over the role of Chairman in 2004 to 2011, Dr Clive Irwin is our current Chairman. Our Board of Trustees all live within our catchment area and are responsible for the Charity.