It was in October 1971 that St Luke’s Hospice, the first facility of its kind outside of London, opened its doors to the terminally ill people of Sheffield.
Through the vision and passion of St Luke’s founder, local GP Professor Eric Wilkes, the public of Sheffield – volunteers, supporters, professionals and businesses – joined together to create a pioneering organisation that has touched the lives of thousands of Sheffield families.
Since its launch, St Luke’s has supported more than 40,000 patients and their families and now offers specialist care to almost 2,000 patients every year.
St Luke’s not only provides support for many people with terminal cancer but also cares for people with other illnesses including neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease, HIV and end stage heart, lung and kidney conditions.
Around 15 per cent of patients are cared for on the St Luke’s In Patient Centre in Little Common Lane but the majority - around 85 per cent - are supported in their own homes by the St Luke’s Community Team.
And today the care has expanded to include bereavement support for families and support for care homes, amongst many other groundbreaking initiatives.
From its earliest stages, St Luke’s set the pattern for hospice care, creating a model that today sees more than 200 independent hospices around the UK and thousands more worldwide.
St Luke’s Chief Executive Peter Hartland said: “I know that the city of Sheffield is truly proud of St Luke’s Hospice, its place in history, and the values on which it is founded and operates.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Eric Wilkes, his family, and all those who gave so much to create it and it is wonderful that the same principles of individual and dignified care that Eric believed in are still ‘the St Luke’s way’ today.
“As St Luke’s reaches its 50th birthday, we thank all those who continue to strive to keep St Luke’s here for Sheffield - volunteers, supporters, donors and of course the incredible staff who have worked so amazingly across the pandemic to ensure St Luke’s was there every day.
“We need to raise 75 per cent of our annual running cost ourselves - and that can’t be done without the continued support of the people of Sheffield.
“On behalf of everyone St Luke’s has helped, and will help, a huge thank you for your kindness, generosity, enthusiasm and passion, which has helped St Luke’s to reach this milestone birthday.
“The pandemic means that we’ve had to delay our plans to celebrate St Luke’s 50th anniversary with supporters in Sheffield, but look out for more later this year and through 2022.
“After such a tough eighteen months, this will be even more special, and together we can ensure that St Luke’s remains here for the next 50 years.”
For more information visit the website https://www.stlukeshospice.org.uk/