I discovered Hospice of Hope as it was then, while I was studying for an MSc in International Health at Queen Margaret's University in Edinburgh, focusing on Palliative Care. For my thesis it was recommended that I visit a new International Palliative Care initiative. Dr Derek Doyle, the first Medical Director of St Columba's Hospice in Edinburgh suggested that I make contact with Graham Perolls, the Founder of Hospice Casa Sperantei in Brasov, someone for whom he had a very high regard. On discovering that the head office was in Otford in Kent, close to where I grew up, I felt that this was a connection that was meant. 

To travel to Romania I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be a co-driver for Medical Support Romania, in a van carrying medical supplies from Cambridge to Zalau in north Romania. From there I would get a train to Brasov where Malina Dumitrescu would meet me. At that time the team including Gabi Baila the nurse, Ramona Plesa, the social worker, Dr Daniella Mosiou, the Medical Director and Malina would meet at their office and plan care for the patients. I was immensely privileged to visit patients in their homes with members of the team and saw at first hand the incredible work that was being undertaken in areas of severe deprivation, with patients, young and old, suffering from life threatening conditions, in homes that in UK would be considered destitute. But the skilled care and treatment administered was clinically excellent and the love and care knew no bounds. In UK at this time the care for patients was excellent in Hospices but this was in a different dimension. These patients were being helped and treated in areas of deprivation where money was scarce but the love and humanity was huge.

I returned to Edinburgh and enthusiastically described the experiences that I had encountered, people became interested and generously decided to support the Charity. My husband and I were fortunate to be invited to attend the opening of the Hospice along with another couple of supporters. It was then decided to form a small fundraising committee in Edinburgh and to open a couple of Charity Shops.

By this time, my husband and I were living in Greece and I had started a small charity, Faros Skopelou, for end of life care. Graham generously agreed for some of our members to be trained by the excellent medical team in Brasov.

Some years later, in 2007, through a Greek Orthodox Priest, I was introduced to Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaea, a Bishop in Athens. It was his intention to build a hospice and because I had had a little experience of hospices and starting Faros he talked to me about his plans. As I had witnessed Hospice of Hope grow from a home care team to an inpatient hospice, I suggested that maybe it would be appropriate for him to first form a home care team. He had considered sending his medical team to be trained at St Christopher's Hospice in London. We discussed the pros and cons of this and I suggested that it might be a good idea to consider the team being trained in Brasov where it would less expensive for the team to have lodgings and the Orthodox religion would be similar. I suggested to Metropolitan Nikolaos that he might contact Daniella's husband who is an Orthodox Priest. In fact the next week the Metropolitan flew to Romania and met with Fr Nicolai and it was decided that the training of the Greek nurses would be undertaken by the Romanian team.

My husband and I returned to Scotland from Greece in 2009. Although I had retired I was again privileged to help Hospices of Hope, which it had now become, with some fundraising and helping with the shops. The highlight being able to take a group from this village where I now live, to visit both the Bucharest and Brasov hospices and to reconnect with my friends there. It also enabled me to introduce more people to the continuing ground breaking work that Hospices of Hope is still undertaking.

I feel immensely humbled to be able to have been connected with Hospices of Hope and wish everyone involved very  best wishes and strength for the future years.

Are you interested in getting involved with the charity? Whether you'd like to volunteer, contribute or get your organisation involved in our work, we'd love to talk to you. Call us at 01959 525110 or email us