40 Faces of hospice care – 1 – Meet Doreen Wood, one of the founders of St Barnabas Hospice

Categories: Leadership and People & Places.

Doreen’s involvement with the Hospice goes beyond our 40 years to when St Barnabas was just a notion. She was part of a group of people who visited St Christopher’s Hospice, the UK’s first dedicated end-of-life centre, to see the possibilities of hospice care for themselves. That visit sealed Doreen’s dedication to hospice care, and fortunately for us, to St Barnabas. She soon became an integral part of a group of volunteers committed to establishing a hospice in Lincoln.

Doreen’s journey started while working as a nurse at Lincoln County Hospital in the late 1970s. During her time caring for terminally ill patients in an acute medical ward, Doreen realised there was more that could be done for people facing the end of their life. But she and her colleagues didn’t have the know-how. St Barnabas co-founder Jenny Freeman, along with Doreen, her fellow nurses and medics knew things had to change and set about making it happen.

In between working night shifts, Doreen spent the next few years raising money to help get the Hospice off the ground. From coffee mornings to jumble sales to spending hours outside supermarkets with collection tins, Doreen and her work colleagues threw themselves into fundraising and encouraged their local church to do the same. And it was all worthwhile!

Five years later they realised they’d raised enough money to make the dream a reality, and St Barnabas opened its doors. Fast forward 45 years and Doreen’s dedication hasn’t wavered. She organised a well-attended Christmas carol service just before the Covid-19 pandemic, which was testament to her ability to bring out the best in people and inspire generosity.

When she retired from the NHS, we were fortunate enough to also benefit from her nursing skills across the Hospice. Doreen knows the value of our care first-hand too, since we had the great privilege of caring for her husband.

At 91 years old, Doreen has put her fundraising (and nursing!) days behind her and she continues to be a true ambassador for us, putting people in touch with St Barnabas whenever she recognises they might benefit from our support, and spreading the word about the organisation she co-founded. She is a true inspiration!

In her own words…

“One of my lasting memories is the wonderful friendships I made along the way. Everyone was of the same mind and so whatever we did to raise money, they were always memorable, happy occasions. I like to think that we gave up our time so the healthcare team at St Barnabas can give people facing the end of their life their time, for as long as they need it.”

Over the last 40 years, St Barnabas Hospice has touched the lives of innumerable people across our Lincolnshire community. To mark four decades of dignified, compassionate care, we’re introducing you to some of the incredible people who have helped make it possible with ’40 Faces of hospice care’.



ehospice Editors Note:

This is the first in a series of 40 individual profiles, published by St Barnabas Hospice, celebrating their founders, staff members, volunteers and supporters who have helped contribute to the vital care they provide to those living with a life-limiting or terminal illness and their families. 

These stories will find parallels across all other hospices across the UK. If you wish to share your news/stories/blogs then please send them to info@ehospice.com. 

To register for the weekly ehospice newsletter which brings together stories from around the world please go to: https://ehospice.com/register/


St Barnabas Hospice is a local independent charity, and every year they support more than 10,500 people across Lincolnshire. They deliver free, high-quality, compassionate end-of-life care and support to people living with a life-limiting or terminal illness, their family and carers.

St Barnabas offers the patient and their family hospice care and support via: specialist inpatient care, care at home, day therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, complementary therapy, welfare advice and bereavement support.

All the services are free. St Barnabas needs to raise over £6m a year to provide its support and care. Over 900 volunteers play a crucial role in the charity’s success.


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