Hospice hero celebrates 35 years

A milestone 35 years

As modest as he is kind, Andy Campbell would never describe himself as a ‘hospice hero’, but having reached the milestone of 35 years’ dedicated service with St Luke’s – making him the team’s longest serving current employee – it’s a title that could not be more deserved.

As Support Officer at our specialist unit at Turnchapel, Andy – who joined the hospice back in June 1989 – understands just how much first impressions matter. It is he who ensures every person who walks through the door receives the warmest of welcomes and is immediately put at ease when visiting their loved one in the evening or staying overnight to be close to them.

A comforting face

Not only is Andy attuned to the needs of visitors who may be feeling apprehensive about what to expect within the walls of a hospice building, thanks to starting his St Luke’s journey as a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) he also has empathy with the clinical team looking after patients on the ward.

HCA is a role Andy held for many years even after taking on the additional job of Support Officer – in fact, it wasn’t until 2014 that he chose to focus on the latter, covering the 6.30 – 10.30pm shift after the day staff have gone home.

As well as being responsible for securing the building for the night, Andy covers reception, answering the phone and greeting visitors. More than this, he ensures that every person spending time with their loved one is comfortable, recognising that it’s often the ‘small’ things that can make a big difference to them at such a sad time.

Keeping an eye out

Andy said: “I know our patients are looked after impeccably, so I see my role as keeping an eye out for those visiting them, who are often struggling emotionally even if they seem relatively calm on the surface.

“Whether they’re at Turnchapel for an hour or staying consecutive nights, there’s always something we can do to make them feel as relaxed as possible. Sometimes, just a friendly chat and a bit of banter are all it takes to remind them how much they matter, but we can help in practical ways too, such as ordering their favourite takeaway so they can eat what they like while they’re here.”

Putting patients and families first

So, from laying the tables ready for a family to enjoy a meal together to making up z-beds so they can stay close to their loved one through the night, Andy’s shifts revolve around the needs of our visitors so that they leave feeling better than when they arrived.

He said: “Being kind and thoughtful doesn’t cost us anything, but it can be priceless to those we help, and it’s St Luke’s unswerving commitment to putting patients and families first that has made me want to keep working for the organisation all these years.

Compassion at the heart

“In three and a half decades, I’ve seen a lot of change as the hospice has continued to evolve, but compassion has always remained at its heart. That’s what matters most to me, and it’s a privilege to serve with such a dedicated, supportive team so needed by our community.

“Working for St Luke’s is way more than just a job – you know you are part of something truly special, making a difference when it matters most of all. Nothing feels more rewarding than that.”

Thank you Andy!

St Luke’s Chief Executive George Lillie said: “On behalf of our hospice team and the many hundreds of families whose lives he has touched during 35 years with our charity, a huge and heartfelt thank-you to Andy for all his dedication and hard work.

“Professional, big-hearted and entirely unflappable, he is a fantastic ambassador for our charity and we couldn’t be more grateful for his outstanding contribution to our cause.”

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