Cheltenham woman celebrates more than three decades dedicated service at Sue Ryder hospice

Categories: Care and People & Places.

A 69-year-old woman from Cheltenham says working for healthcare charity, Sue Ryder, is like being with family as she marks 35 years in the job this December.

Nursing Assistant, Jan Webb, joined Sue Ryder’s Leckhampton Court Hospice in Cheltenham in December 1987 and has stayed with the charity ever since delivering expert and compassionate care.

 “I didn’t know much about Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice until my step-dad was cared for there. I had been working at a nursing home for 11 years, but he knew the hospice matron at the time and he really wanted me to go for a job there.

“My step-dad later died at the hospice, but when I told him that I’d gone for an interview he felt calmer – he just wanted me to get the best I think.

“I didn’t really know exactly what I was going into, but here I still am, and the rest is history as they say,” said Jan.

As she celebrates her caring career milestone, Jan shares how special it is to be part of the team at the hospice.

 “Sue Ryder is a fabulous charity – you just can’t knock it! We are all like one big family. It’s the same for people who come into the hospice and their families –  it’s like we have known them for years, and it’s an honour as they talk to you like they know you too.

“I love everything about my job, if I could be there every night I would. If I wasn’t working there I would be a volunteer. Lots of people say to me that they can’t wait to retire and I say: “don’t be silly,” I want to keep going for as long as I can,” adds Jan.

During her time at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, Jan, who has worked night shifts since she started at the hospice, says she has seen a number of changes to her role in palliative care.

“A lot has changed since I started at the hospice – they were still painting the building when I started there! Everything used to take so much longer than it does now – a lot was done by telephone messages back then,” Jan said.

“The care was similar – we’ve always been encouraged to sit with patients, hold their hands, talk to them and their families, but with the medicines we have on-board now, we definitely have more time to do this.

“It used to be about caring for people at the end of their life too, but we must have trebled the amount of patients we can see with many people coming in for symptom control to be discharged home again once they are made more comfortable,” she added.

Jan says that caring is something that she was born to do.

“I always wanted to work in care. My mum had severe epilepsy and my dad later had prostate cancer so I would care for him too. If there is someone who needs care and support, I am on it!” Jan said.

And, being there for others is something that runs through her family.

“My son Stuart was six when I started at Sue Ryder and he has always been a part of my life as a carer. Now he cares for his elderly neighbour and helps look after a friend’s brother,” she added.

Jan hopes that by sharing her experience and her love for care, she can encourage other people to pursue a career in palliative care with the charity.

“Do it! It’s such a rewarding job. Talking to someone who may be nearing the end of their life makes them feel wanted and like they have somebody they can turn to.

“It’s rewarding for you because you learn so much from your patients and they look to you for your support and they feel safe – it’s so lovely,” she added.


Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice provides expert and compassionate palliative care and bereavement support to people living in Cheltenham and its surrounding communities and villages, and it currently has a number of existing job opportunities to join its team including a Healthcare Assistant and a Registered Nurse, as well as a Senior Nursing Assistant with the Hospice at Home team.

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For more information on a career in palliative care with Sue Ryder visit


About Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice:

Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice is the only palliative care inpatient unit in Gloucestershire and provides expert palliative care and support for people who are living with a life-limiting condition, as well as supporting their families.

Our 16-bed hospice is surrounded by beautiful, tranquil countryside which complements the specialist care and support we give to those with life-limiting conditions and their families.

In addition to our inpatient unit, our virtual day hospice service helps people living with long term conditions and our Hospice at Home service provides care for people in the local community who prefer to receive palliative care at home.

Our expert team includes doctors, nurses, care assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and family support team. They all work seamlessly together to support people through the most difficult times of their lives.

Whether somebody is dealing with a terminal illness or the loss of a loved one, we’re there when it matters. Sue Ryder staff and volunteers provide people with the compassion and expert care they need, to help them live the best life they can

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