How it all began

Forty years ago, as a newly qualified doctor, Sandra quickly concluded that no-one really knew how best to treat dying patients.

At the beginning of 2017 we celebrated our 30th Anniversary. The Hospice relies on its dedicated staff and volunteers to provide the wide range of services offered to the community: one such person who has been involved from the beginning is Dr Sandra Sedgwick, now one of the Vice Presidents of St Wilfrid’s.

Forty years ago, as a newly qualified doctor, Sandra quickly concluded that no-one really knew how best to treat dying patients. She remembers feelings of shock and sadness while witnessing a patient dying of cancer, being vigorously resuscitated by a team of doctors including her, while the relatives sat in another room with no idea what was going on, separated from their loved ones in the last few rather undignified minutes. She saw patients who had been given a terminal diagnosis, in beds at the far end of a long hospital ward, having been told “there is nothing more we can do for you”. 

Inspired by an article by Dame Cicely Saunders (left), the founder of the modern hospice movement, Sandra decided that the local area needed a hospice. She and a dedicated group began raising funds for a hospice in Bognor, and later joined forces with fundraisers working towards a similar goal for a Chichester hospice. Sandra recalls that £1million needed to be raised so that building could start, meaning it was a further 10 years before the first patient could be admitted. The results of their joint efforts resulted in St Wilfrid’s opening on January 5th 1987.

Before becoming Vice President, Sandra was a Trustee for around 20 years. She has also been a volunteer, helping out on the Ward, in the Day Centre and Education Centre, and as an Ambassador for the Hospice in the local area. She was Chairman of the Bognor Regis Fundraising Group until her husband, who was under the care of the Hospice, sadly died. Sandra has always been particularly keen to promote the role of the Hospice in Education, to enable as many health care professionals as possible to understand the importance of palliative and specialist end of life care.

How wonderful it is now that patients are cared for by St Wilfrid's and have a dignified death, surrounded by their loved ones.

Sandra Sedgwick