Hi, I'm Jo. I have a background in palliative care nursing. I first met Graham in 1980 when I was a ward sister at St Christopher’s Hospice and Graham’s father was being cared for on my ward. I am now a Trustee for Hospices of Hope.

Following the death of Graham’s father, I sat down with Graham at the ‘after-death’ meeting that was standard at St Christopher’s Hospice in the early 1980s. At that meeting, Graham told me that, because of the care his father had received at the hospice, he wanted to set up a hospice home care team for people in Kent.  I can remember suggesting he should wait a few months but he was insistent and arranged to speak with Dame Cicely Saunders. Graham busily started fundraising to set up what has become the very successful Ellenor Foundation (named after his mother Ellen and his father Norman).   Shortly afterwards I moved to Edinburgh to work.  Graham remained in contact and told me they were setting up a home care team Casa Sperentei (Hospice of Hope) in Romania. I became very interested.  

Dr Mary Baines who had been very influential in the setting up of the home care team at St Christopher’s Hospice, played a huge part in supporting the Ellenor Foundation, Kent, and subsequently became involved with Hospices of Hope. In 2001, she and I were invited to speak at Hospices of Hope’s Princess Diana Education Centre in Brasov.  This cemented my support for the charity and then when I moved back down to London for work, Graham asked me to become a Trustee.   I am now back in Edinburgh and still a Trustee for a little bit longer.   I chair the Scottish Fundraising Committee for Hospices of Hope. 

What Graham and Carolyn first initiated in Hospices of Hope, and the family have subsequently supported and developed, is quite remarkable.  The charity has invested in the education of health/social care professionals alongside excellence in care and, for me, this has extended the reach.    What Hospices of Hope has achieved over these last 30 years is quite phenomenal.  The vision that started as a heartache to help the disadvantaged and dying in the skiing resort of Brasov, Romania has grown from a small acorn into an extensive tree whose branches now reach across Romania, Serbia, Albania and Moldova. A huge achievement.

Probably one of my strongest memories was the day when Graham took me to the oncology unit in Brasov, Romania in the mid-1990s.  I was very struck by how close the beds were, the huge tiled chimney in the corner and seeing how very ill and near to death many of the patients were.  We then left the hospital to go to some land that the charity had just purchased and together with others Graham ceremoniously dug the spade into the soil to mark the first step of building the Casa Sperentei Hospice unit.