A Kingsbridge man, passionate about protecting the specialist service that ensures local people with terminal illness receive the high-quality care they need – and deserve – at the end of their lives, has taken up a new voluntary role with the charity carrying out this vital work.

Colin Pincombe has recently been appointed Impact Volunteer Partner with St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth. He is now sending out a rallying call to all like-minded people in the South Hams, asking them to join him in giving some of their spare time to help revitalise local recognition for the charity and build its resilience for the years to come.

Colin has had a long career in business, chairing NHS Trusts and, more recently, as a Trustee of Rowcroft Hospice. He is currently Chair of South Hams Hospital League of Friends.

St Luke’s is committed to caring for patients in the place that’s right for them, which for many is in the comfort of their own homes. Not only does this enable them to stay close to their loved ones, it reduces the need for them to travel into Plymouth for hospital treatment. This is of even greater importance for people living in isolated rural areas, where accessing all kinds of services can be more difficult. St Luke’s covers the whole of the South Hams district except Chillington to Dartmouth, which is served by Rowcroft Hospice.

While the hospice gives tailored care and support to patients and their families at no cost to those who receive it, this service does not come cheap to the charity. With people living longer and with more complex conditions, referrals are growing year on year, which increases pressure on its limited resources.

As an independent charity, St Luke’s relies on donations and fundraising from the communities it serves so that no-one who needs expert, compassionate care at the end of their life has to miss out. The pandemic has meant a particularly uncertain year for the hospice, with its income impacted by the temporary closure of its charity shops as well as the postponement of its mass participation events, such as Midnight Walk, until safer times.

Speaking about his new voluntary role with St Luke’s, Colin said: “The economic climate is only going to get tougher for everyone, including charities, so if we want to have the assurance that St Luke’s can continue serving our communities in the years ahead, now is the time for us to take action and show our support.

“That’s why I’m asking fellow South Hams residents from all walks of life to join me in spreading awareness of St Luke’s in our local area with a view to raising funds and recruiting volunteers to ensure the sustainability of the charity. I believe that together, we can make an important difference for our community.”

Penny Hannah, Head of Fundraising at St Luke’s, said: “Many people naturally associate the name St Luke’s with Plymouth but in fact our team is on the road 365 days a year, including across the South Hams, so that people living and dying with terminal illness know they have not been forgotten.

“I am delighted Colin has joined St Luke’s as Impact Volunteer Partner. He brings with him a great deal of valuable experience in the healthcare sector as well as an understanding of the pressures facing our charity, making him a real asset. We are tremendously grateful to him for getting behind St Luke’s to help us be here for local families for generations to come.”

Due to the pandemic, no meetings will take place in person until it is safe to do so, but to register your interest in joining Colin in giving a little spare time to support the vital work of St Luke’s in your local area, please email him at cpincombe@stlukes-hospice.org.uk or call St Luke’s on 01752 492626.