Tributes have been paid to St Catherine’s Hospice 'dynamo' Philip Jones who has died of cancer.
Philip, trustee at the Lostock Hall-based hospice, began supporting the hospice movement after experiencing the difference it made when his late wife was ill.
He died at home in Wigan on Sunday, April 21, after being diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2017.
A trustee at St Catherine’s for the past 10 years, he made a significant contribution to the work of the charity as both Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.
A life-long supporter of good causes across the North West – in particular grassroots Rugby Football League in the region and social housing with the Progress Housing Group – Philip became a powerful ambassador for the hospice movement following the care of his wife Lois by Wigan and Leigh Hospice 15 years ago.
Colleagues at St Catherine’s praised both the skills and experience he brought to his role from 36 years in the retail sector – the last 16 as company secretary at the Co-operative – and the compassion he showed for the patients and families the hospice is serving.
John Chesworth, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: "Philip was a dynamo on the St Catherine’s Board of Trustees - a passionate advocate of the mission and values of the hospice, who always managed to align compassion and care with his keen eye for business. This is essential for the hospice which each year needs to raise £5.6m to deliver St Catherine’s services to the local community.
"Even as ill health affected him very seriously in recent months, he continued to contribute massively to the life of St Catherine’s - showing a selfless commitment to the care of others."
Stephen Greenhalgh, Chief Executive of St Catherine's, said: "When Philip came to St Catherine's to be interviewed for a trustee role, the board was left in no doubt about his suitability as a trustee. This was in part due to his exemplary record with the Co-operative Movement, but also his tremendous knowledge of charitable activity in health and social care and his empathy with the benefits of high quality end of life care. In addition, Philip was driven by his own experience of the untimely loss of his wife. His arrival at St Catherine’s was timely as we sought to find our way through the effects of the 2008/9 recession.
"Volunteering at St Catherine's, Philip displayed superb strategic acumen coupled with an invaluable down to earth understanding of the day to day experiences of people living with conditions like cancer, motor neurone disease and heart failure.
"Throughout his own illness, Philip remained committed to St Catherine's, showing extraordinary courage and determination for which I have the highest admiration.
"Despite being desperately poorly, Philip came to our last board meeting in March, presenting the budget for the forthcoming year.
"He was a remarkably dedicated man."
Dr Stephen Ward, a fellow trustee at St Catherine's who chairs the Patient Care Committee, praised the impact Philip had on the work of the charity.
He said: "Using his skill and expertise, Philip went to great lengths to ensure the hospice's finances are maximised in order that as many patients and families as possible can be cared for by the hospice.
"But his contribution was not limited to matters of financial expertise - his insight and contributions to all areas of the hospice were extremely valued and well delivered."
Along with Philip's role at St Catherine's Hospice, he also served as Vice President of Progress Housing Group and was Chairman of the RFL Facilities Trust. He also Chaired the Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, which supports young people from disadvantaged areas.
His funeral will take place on Friday May 3 at St John’s RC Church in Powell Street, Wigan at 11.30pm, followed by a reception at Wrightington Country Club from 1pm.
St Catherine's Hospice is a local, independent charity based in Lostock Hall, Lancashire, which provides highly specialised palliative and end-of-life care for the people of Chorley, Preston and South Ribble.
It people with all kinds of life-shortening conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart failure, to experience quality of life, to the end of life.
The charity helps keep people out of hospital, providing the specialised, personalised care and support they need to live well with comfort, independence and choice – either at home or in the hospice.
The hospice’s diverse teams work with each patient and their loved ones to help them achieve what is important to them at all stages of their condition, from diagnosis to bereavement.
St Catherine’s supports more than 200 people at any one time in their own home through the community Clinical Nurse Specialist team; cares for people on the 19-bed in-patient unit; and runs outpatient clinics from the onsite lymphoedema clinic called The Woodside.
Volunteers are the life-blood of St Catherine’s; it is only thanks to a team of more than 900 of them working in a variety of roles that the charity is able to continue its work. The hospice also depends on the generosity and efforts of its supporters to raise £3.8m of its annual £5.6m running costs, with £1.8m provided by the NHS.
Funds are raised in a variety of ways including donations in wills; the hospice’s weekly lottery; 18 charity shops; events such as the charity’s biggest annual fundraiser, the Moonlight and Memories Walk; fundraising activities and challenges organised by thousands of dedicated supporters; and the ground-breaking social enterprise project, The Mill café and community hub, set in the welcoming grounds of St Catherine’s Park.
The park is open to all in the community to enjoy and is a regular venue for events and campaigns which bring people together to remember and celebrate the lives of their loved ones.