The chief executive of Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People in Wetherby, Martin Warhurst, has stepped down after three years in charge.
During his time leading the hospice, Martin helped to drive forward plans for a major extension and redevelopment– currently awaiting approval from Leeds City Council, and saw income increase by almost a third in the past two years.
Martin said: “It’s been a real privilege to lead Martin House. In the last three years I’ve had the opportunity to meet and understand the impact the hospice has on the lives of our children, young people and their families.
“I’ve also seen the dedication and passion of the staff and volunteers – everyone understands our mission and wants to play their part to the best of their ability.
“We’re currently experiencing one of the toughest times we’ve ever experienced, due to Covid-19, but I know I’m leaving the hospice in a good position, with a strong team in place to face the challenges to come.”
Martin House cares for children and young people with life-limiting conditions from across West, North and East Yorkshire, as well as supporting their families.
During his tenure, Martin was active in working with organisations like Hospice UK and Together for Short Lives to help promote and influence palliative care at a national level, and he was elected a trustee of Hospice UK.
He also enjoyed a moment of unlikely international fame when he was mistaken for new Huddersfield Town manager Jan Siewert, with #MartinfromWakefield trending on social media, leading to a flurry of media interviews and an appearance on Sky’s Soccer AM. “It was a very surreal experience, but it gave me a chance to tell a much wider audience about Martin House” he said.
“It’s one of many moments that has made Martin House such a wonderful place to work – there’s nowhere else where I could find myself playing guitar for Santa after he’s landed in a helicopter, or where it’s normal to have donkeys wandering through reception.
“I’ve got so many precious memories to treasure from my time at Martin House – and that’s exactly what we offer to the families who come here.”
Next Martin is set to take up a role at Wakefield and District Housing. He will be succeeded at the hospice by Clair Holdsworth – currently director of clinical services – as interim chief executive, until a permanent replacement is recruited.
Clair said: “I am really excited to start the interim role, these are exceptional and challenging times for us at Martin House, but I’m confident with the support of our fantastic team and supporters that we will continue to deliver an outstanding service to those most in need.”
Tim Halstead, chair of trustees, said: “On behalf of the board I’d like to thank Martin for his hard work and dedication in the last three years. He has made a great impression on colleagues and on the children and young people we serve, as well as contributing hugely to the wider hospice sector. We will miss him and wish him well in his for his future role.
“We are really fortunate in having Clair available to work as interim chief executive, as she knows Martin House and we know her so well. Her experience as director of clinical services will provide a seamless transition for Martin House, and we look forward to working with her.”
For more information visit Martin House