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Hospice leaders resign in wake of closure row

Two step down after charity was forced to drop plans

Pilgrims hospice chief executive Steve Auty,  left, and chairman of the trustees Dr Richard Morey have both resigned
Pilgrims hospice chief executive Steve Auty,
left, and chairman of the trustees Dr Richard Morey have both resigned

Two leading figures of the Pilgrims Hospice charity have stepped down following an outcry over plans to close inpatient beds in Canterbury. Chief executive Steve Auty and chairman of the trustees Dr Richard Morey have both resigned their posts.

Dr Morey said the organisation needed a fresh executive and non-executive leadership to steer it through the next phase of its development while Mr Auty said it was time “to hand on the leadership baton”. Both had come under fire after announcing plans to shut the 16-bed unit at Canterbury and replace the service with more patient care in the community.

It caused uproar among the families of patients, volunteers and fundraisers, forcing the charity to ditch the proposal. Mr Auty, 60, has been CEO for nine years and has overseen a huge growth in the care being offered by the hospices, driven fundraising up from £7 million to £11 million a year and helped expand care for the dying in the community. He and his team have also doubled the number of Pilgrims Hospice shops and taken the lottery membership to record levels. He said:

“I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the staff, volunteers and supporters whose hard work and generosity have enabled all of this to happen. On a personal level, I am proud and privileged to have led Pilgrims and I remain passionate about the need for hospice care to be widely available to the people of east Kent both now and in the future.”

Dr Morey, a retired GP, announced his resignation as chairman on Monday and will be replaced by the vice-chairman. He said.

“I am standing do with immediate effect to enable others to continue the important work of spreading the influence of palliative care as widely as possible, while retaining the essential essence of Pilgrims Hospice. Our staff and volunteers are the heart and soul of Pilgrims and I have been privileged to have worked with them as a trustee for 14 years and chairman of the board of trustees for six years.

Now is the time for our many valued supporters to get behind Pilgrims and enable us to maintain our high quality care, thus supporting our wonderful staff and volunteers in this important work.”

Herne Bay Gazette, June 26th 2014

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