Billie White-Fensom was 12 years old when her father David Fensom died. David was cared for by the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and 13 years on Billie has spoken about how important the care delivered to her family has been.
David was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and admitted to the inpatient unit at the original Arthur Rank Hospice on Mill Road in 2009. Billie remembers regularly visiting the Hospice and the Hospice at Home care also provided to her father in their family home.
Billie said “I used to visit the Hospice after school. Everyone was so kind, the nurses were always there for me, they would arrange drinks and they always had a hug ready if needed. I felt like part of the Arthur Rank Hospice family.”
With the support of the Charity’s therapy team, Billie’s dad was able to write his life story, something that the charity still helps people to do today. More than a decade on, Billie added that she often looks back at her dad’s book and is grateful that he had the opportunity to write this for her to read as she grew up.
Billie said “I was young when my dad died but I never felt that the hospice was a place of doom and gloom, everyone was so friendly and upbeat. It wasn’t the scary place that you would perhaps imagine it to be.”
Billie’s personal experience inspired her to join the Charity and she now manages the Mill Road Shop, just metres away from where her dad was previously cared for. Billie has a strong connection to the people who support the charity adding “People often come into the shop with donations belonging to loved ones and I can empathise as I know the importance of parting with those items. My own experience helps me to understand what they are going through. People share how good the care the charity provides is and the difference that it has made to them and their families. It makes me proud that I work in one of the shops that helps to fund the care. I am so pleased that the care provided now, is as good as the care my dad and my family received 13 years ago.”
In May, it was announced by Chariots of Fire organisers, HCR Hewitsons Trust, that Arthur Rank Hospice Charity had been selected as the Chariots of Fire 2022 beneficiary. The funds raised being used to open a new charity shop and cover the operating costs for the first year. The ambitious fundraising target of £71,000 will enable the charity to add to its collection of five shops and one retail hub.
Donna Talbot, Director of Fundraising and Communications for the Charity said “Like Billie, many of my colleagues and our volunteers have a personal relationship with our charity, or appreciate the difference that hospice care makes. We are acutely aware of the importance of our services for our patients and their loved ones. Being able to open another shop like the one that Billie manages will enable us to raise more money to fund vital care. This is important alongside the need to raise awareness of our services whilst also doing our bit for the environment by reusing pre-loved items.”
Race director and Trustee of HCR Hewitsons Charitable Trust, Charles Hewitson said “The incredible work of the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity in delivering their outstanding end-of-life care cannot be overstated. Many people across the region have a personal link to the Charity, either knowing someone that volunteers for the hospice or having once had a loved one in their care. It is this personal connection that has made the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity much-valued institution in the region.”
If you are inspired to enter a team for the race which takes place on 18 September please do so at chariots-of-fire.co.uk/enter-a-team, each team is encouraged to raise £250 and support is available from the charity to help to reach this target. If you don’t wish to enter, but would like to contribute, please visit the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity Trustee and Senior Leadership team’s Just Giving Page justgiving.com/fundraising/arhcneilt. Alternatively please send a donation to Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, Cherry Hinton Road, Shelford Bottom, Cambridge CB22 3FB made payable to Arthur Rank Hospice Charity or visit arhc.org.uk/donate/ and please reference Chariots of Fire, so that these can be attributed to the grand total raised.