The 30th anniversary celebrations of Trinity Hospice will be somewhat bittersweet for Sister Lorraine Cundy.
Lorraine, who is clinical manager at Brian House Children’s Hospice, will be spending her final year this year in her role, before her retirement next March.
She has worked at the Bispham-based hospice since the very beginning and has headed Brian House for the last two decades – its entire existence.
This means she has known just about every child who has come through the door.
Trinity has been open for 30 years this year and Lorraine started working there on May 13, 1985.
She said: “In my former working life, I was a bank clerk, but my daughter had to have an operation and stayed at Sheffield Children’s Hospital for quite a long time and I remember feeling inspired by the staff there and wanting to do what they did.
“We moved to Blackpool as a family after my mum, dad and husband were made redundant from the steelworks and we set up a hotel in South Shore.
“I enrolled as a pupil nurse and did my training, and went to work at Rossall Hospital.”
It was after her aunt died, from cancer, in Sheffield, she felt she wanted to go into hospice work.
She said: “We got everything set up at Trinity, put in the beds, put up the curtains.
“In 1988, I went to do my formal training at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, to become a registered nurse and, while there, I worked for a time on the children’s ward.
“I came back to Trinity in 1990 and when Brian House opened in 1996, I started work there.
“By the end of the first year, we had 39 families we were helping and now that’s between 60 and 72 families we help on a regular basis.”
The grandmother-of-three has seen a lot of changes over the years – not least how services, and the hospice building, have expanded.
“Within a short time of Brian House opening, we realised we did not have enough floor space, so it doubled in size.
“Trinity of course has had work done, too, there’s been massive changes – adding the day therapy unit, the Linden Centre, developing our community team, outreach.
“The number of people we look after has changed and the way we look after people has changed.”
Lorraine hopes to spend more time with her grandchildren, when she retires in March 2016, as well as travelling more, but says she will miss Brian House.
Trinity’s clinical director Julie Huttley said: “Lorraine is a true professional nurse who prides herself in ensuring that the children, young people and families receive the best possible care and support.
“She has always involved herself in every aspect of hospice life, and never misses an opportunity to persuade people to support and fund-raise for the benefit of Brian House.
“Lorraine will be missed by us all but we wish her a long, healthy and happy retirement.”
Lorraine was instrumental in the redesign of Brian House – which Gazette readers helped with last year under the Hospice Heroes campaign. In fact, she was pictured after the work was complete – in bed with Dancing On Ice star, Poulton’s Dan Whiston.
She has always been an enthusiastic fund-raiser, joining in wearing wacky outfits and making fund-raising fun.
And she is immensely proud of the work of Brian House.
“I am so proud, we have the most fantastic staff, who are just so passionate about all they do.
“It’s about helping people. If you can make a difference in somebody’s life, that’s what gives you job satisfaction. It’s a privilege to work with our families.
“No parent expects to lose a child and it’s a very dark time in their lives, and we are just helping them to get through that.
“Brian House is about living, not about dying.
“It’s about making memories for families, about the children having fun and doing everything we can do to help those things.
“We have lovely events like the Christmas party, the Easter party.
“For me, Brian House isn’t a job – it’s a way of life.”