For many years John Kelly has been the public face of North West Hospice, appearing at numerous fundraising events and in countless photos, so it little wonder that one of the staff there recently christened him “Mr Hospice”.
However, when we spoke to him this week to mark his retirement, the affable Grange man was more anxious to talk about the Hospice than himself and to thank all those who had helped him in his fundraising work and the staff in the Hospice.
“I really want to thank everybody for their support for the Hospice and their help to me over the years. The people in this region are the greatest givers. They are brilliant”, he said.
John, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Tuesday, has been working for the Hospice for the past 17 years.
His first involvement in funding raising began through a personal experience.
“There was a young lady in Grange that I knew whose sister died of cancer and we started fundraising locally. And later she died herself at only 38 years of age That is how it started”, he said.
And John said that is how most people become involved in raising money for the Hospice.
“Nearly everybody has an experience with a family member or a neighbour and they hold a fundraising event or maybe two or three. There are events going on like that all the time and that is how most of the money is raised.”
John has seen the Hospice grow from one nurse in the community to the present 8-bed unit, seven nurses involved in home care and the hospital support team.
For John’s full story pick up this week’s Sligo Weekender- out now.