St Catherine’s stalwart died at hospice she loved dearly

Pam Briggs, left, and friend Janet Wilson at St Catherine's Hospice
Pam Briggs, left, and friend Janet Wilson at St Catherine's Hospice

Tributes have been paid to a stalwart of St Catherine’s Hospice who first joined the organisation as an auxiliary nurse in the 1980s, and continued to serve the charity as a shop manager and volunteer.

Pam Briggs died on February 13 on her 68th birthday after suffering a severe heart attack following heart surgery.

“Working with Pam on the ward was always such fun; she was known for playing tricks, particularly on Matron on April Fool’s Day!”

Friend and staff nurse Janet Wilson

She was able to return to the hospice which meant so much to her and spend her final time there with people she loved.

Pam worked on the in-patient unit at St Catherine’s in the early days of the hospice, following its opening in 1985. When a motorbike accident around 20 years ago forced her to have her right leg amputated, she moved across to manage the charity’s gift shop.

Following her retirement a few years ago, Pam, a mother-of-two and a grandmother, continued to serve the charity as a volunteer, and was always a regular presence at hospice fund-raising events.

But it was perhaps leading the St Catherine’s Craft Group which she was best known for more recently.

Speaking from her stall at the craft market at last year’s St Catherine’s Christmas Festival, Pam told of how much she loved still being involved.

She said: “I volunteer, because the hospice is in my heart. I feel like I still belong here, even though I am a volunteer now.

“Once you start working here you don’t want to let it go. The hospice becomes a very special part of your life.

“There’s nowhere else like it and I love managing the craft ladies and being part of such an amazing community.”

Pam’s sister Chris Walton said: “She had such energy and was so encouraging to others - she would inspire you to get involved and have a go too.

“After the accident, she refused to let her disability define her - she remained as independent and determined as ever, and I think that’s an important lesson for us all.”

She added: “St Catherine’s was her life - it felt like home.

“That’s why it was so important that she returned to the hospice - she died within half an hour of being there, but I truly believe she held on to be able to do that.”

Janet Wilson, a staff nurse who has known Pam since 1985, said: “Working with Pam on the ward was always such fun. She was known for playing tricks, particularly on Matron on April Fool’s Day!

“Pam had the gift of being able to make everyone feel special. She was a truly amazing person and I shall miss her so much. The craft group will continue on in Pam’s memory, raising funds for the place which she loved so dearly.”

Stephen Greenhalgh, chief executive of the Lostock Hall hospice, also paid tribute to Pam’s remarkable spirit: “For me, Pam epitomised everything that is wonderful and good about St Catherine’s.

“I hold her in the highest possible regard and feel privileged beyond measure to have known this inspiring bundle of enthusiasm, compassion and heartfelt love.”

Everyone is welcome to a memorial service for Pam which will take place on Saturday, March 12, at St Ambrose Church in Leyland at 1.30pm, followed by refreshments courtesy of the Mother’s Union - where Pam was also a keen volunteer - in the church hall.

Guests are invited to wear an item of pink and to lay a single pink flower at the front of the church on arrival.