The creation of a hospice for Bolton – by Dr (hc) Leigh Vallance (CEO)

Categories: Care and Leadership.

Bolton Hospice has come a long way from its roots back in May 1984, when a need for hospice care in the local area was first recognised by the Bolton Royal Infirmary Centenary Appeal. In 1989 the Mayor of Bolton handed over the land on Queens Park Street as a gift from the Metropolitan Borough Council, upon which to build the hospice.

In the same year, the first hospice charity shop on Chorley Old Road was opened, having being bought and opened on a shoestring budget by supporter Mollie Bentham – the shop made just £50 on its first day, but by 2015 had raised more than £2.2 million for the hospice!

Thanks to the help of a campaign by The Bolton News, the wonderfully supportive local community began to raise the funds necessary to build the hospice.  By 1990, £850,000 had been raised and the building had commenced!

In October 1991, the keys of the building were handed over to the first hospice Matron, Mrs Pat Sneddon, and one of our founding supporters, the late Irene Roocroft, wrote an article which has some wonderful detail about the very early days of our hospice:

“When the building was completed but not yet open, I used to take my electric typewriter down, plug it in behind a desk in reception and type up any papers for Matron as there was no office staff employed there and it was completely empty. It was a very exciting time as each day we had deliveries of more equipment and furniture and you see the hospice developing before your eyes!”

Photo by Matt Simmonds, Newsquest (Bolton) Ltd., Wednesday February 6, 2008.

In February 1992, the nursing staff commenced an intensive induction programme and on the 3rd March 1992 our first patients were admitted – Ellen and Maria will always be remembered with affection and pride – and we have been dedicated to caring for thousands of local families ever since.

We have witnessed many changes at the hospice, and the last two years during the pandemic have certainly been challenging.  But we have remained on the frontline of the response to Covid-19 and our vital care and support for local people has continued throughout.

The generous and unwavering support has remained unchanged in our community over the last thirty years, helping the hospice grow and develop so that we can help even more people.  We’re looking forward to celebrating our anniversary year with as many of our supporters as we can, and hopefully, at some face-to-face events too, if restrictions allow.

Our success at Bolton Hospice has been based on always looking forward, building on the best of what we do and never ever standing still, but always seeking to improve on what we have and what we can do to meet the needs of people with palliative and end of life care needs.

We strive to provide the very best hospice care and will continue to work together with our community to ensure our services meet the demand for specialist palliative and end of life care in Bolton.  We are here for everyone in Bolton who needs us, now and in the future.

CEO Dr Leigh Vallance



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