My View, Mel Hewitt: End of an era as it’s time for moving on

Mel Hewitt with her daughter  Lizzie at a fundraising event for St John's Hospice, Doncaster, ast year
Mel Hewitt with her daughter Lizzie at a fundraising event for St John's Hospice, Doncaster, ast year
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When you look back on your life – if you’ve been around for more than a few decades! – it seems, to me anyway, to fall into sections, rather like chapters in a book or pieces of a jigsaw.

From infancy, to junior school, ‘big’ school, to college or first job, distinctive time zones emerge, highlighting the passage of time and changing circumstances.

One of the most definable eras for most of us is the time we spend in one particular job. I have been extremely lucky in the work I have had and the people I have worked with over the last 30 years.

Some people say you make your own luck and I do believe that a positive attitude, seeing challenges rather than problems and always being open to learning new skills is so important.

Some jobs do though just feel as though they were meant to be.

Enquiring, nearly 19 months ago now, for the job of the first community fundraiser for the Hospice, I felt so fortunate to have spotted the advert the day before the deadline to apply. As well as sometimes making your own luck I do believe in the ‘fickle finger of fate’ as I like to call it!

The hospice, as I have said many times in this column, is very special to me. To have the opportunity to raise funds for a new appeal was too good to be true.

As I now leave the Hospice this Friday I will take with me some marvellous memories.

I will mention no names as a list of the terrific people I have worked with – both colleagues and fundraisers – would be huge, but I have been blessed to know them.

Patients, families and their friends have shown me the power of love and courage, the nursing and care teams the true value of compassion and good humour.

The hospice is truly greater than the sum of its parts and should continue to be cherished and supported by the people of Doncaster in the years to come.

Tens of thousands of pounds have been raised in the last 18 months, not including the large legacies which have been received and in a time of recession this is all the more remarkable.

For me though, more important than anything else is that I truly believe more people who may need the hospice, hospice at home or day hospice services now know more about them and understand that St John’s is about living and the quality of life.

Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the modern hospice movement said: “You matter because you are you and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”

At the heart of this belief is the reason why the hospice has been such a privilege to be part of. I will never forget my time here.