St Nicholas Hospice Care chief executive Barbara Gale 'astounded' by award of MBE in New Year Honours list
Barbara Gale, chief executive of St Nicholas Hospice Care, has been awarded an MBE in recognition of her contribution to hospice care and the West Suffolk community.
Barbara has been involved in hospice care for more than 30 years, with 11 years as the chief executive of the hospice, which supports people living with caring, dying and bereavement.
She said: “I was astounded when the letter arrived on my doorstep.
"I feel privileged and humbled to think that I am worthy of this award and I thank the people that took the time to nominate me.”
“Our founder Canon Richard Norburn, who sadly died in 2017, has been my inspiration and I try to carry on his vision and ambition of what hospice care should be like for our local community.
“I couldn’t have received this award without having such an amazing team of more than 180 staff and 650 volunteers.
"They work so hard to make the experiences of people in the community better and help people as they face death, dying and grief.
“I also get great support from my group of visionary trustees whose work can sometimes go unrecognised.”
“My family have been incredibly supportive as well.”
During her 11 years as chief executive, Barbara has witnessed some great achievements: two hospice volunteer schemes, Hospice Neighbours and Nicky’s Way have both won the Queen’s Award, and more recently the hospice has been leading a campaign for people to donate their corneas after they have died.
St Nicholas Hospice Care will have been going for 35 years next year and there are exciting plans for the future.
She said: “It has been an amazing few years but we know that there are still people out there that are not having great experiences and are facing death and grief without much support.
"Our ambition is to continue offering specialist care and to help more people feel prepared and equipped.”
Barbara has been involved with hospices since 1981 and has qualifications in Hospice Leadership, Nursing, Specialist Palliative Care and Systemic Family Therapy. She has recently been awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Palliative Care from Lancaster University, for her thesis on the stories of community hospice volunteers who visit patients coming to the end of their lives.