Midsomer Murders star praises 'exceptional' Berkhamsted hospice

Fiona Dolman with her late father Gordon
Fiona Dolman with her late father Gordon

Midsomer Murders star Fiona Dolman shared a heartfelt testimonial about her late father's time at The Hospice of St Francis - speaking at the charity's annual general meeting.

The actress, who plays Sarah Barnaby in ITV’s Midsomer Murders, addressed St Francis patrons, association members, supporters, trustees, volunteers, and staff about the hospice’s “invaluable, exceptional and seamless” care for her late father, Gordon, from Kings Langley.

Fiona speaking at the annual general meeting

Fiona speaking at the annual general meeting

His care stretched over five years since he was first diagnosed with myeloma in 2014 through to his choice to be at the hospice when he died in January this year.

“We thought it would be a few days – it turned out to be six weeks,” she said, describing feeling “confused and hostile” when a hospice community nurse first visited her father at home. She thought hospice care was for the very end of a person’s life.

But when she asked the nurse if they were there because her dad was dying, she responded they were “there for the journey – however long that may be” marked the start of the “most invaluable support for the next five years.”

“A bomb had gone off and we were reeling,” she said.

“There was no guide, no manual but the St Francis team became our guide. They were there through everything. They were a lifeline,” giving practical, medical and emotional support which had made her feel “cocooned by love.”

“The peace that came from Dad being cared for at St Francis was immeasurable,” she went on.

“The excellence was across the board, the empathy and compassion was from each and every member of staff at all times from the gardeners, cleaners and volunteers to the physios, community team, wonderful nurses, consultants and chaplain. All of them took their time and gave their respect and patience to Dad and to all of us.”

During the formal business of the AGM, Alison Woodhams, Chair of Trustees, spoke of the events, challenges and highlights of the past year and formally thanked and said goodbye to five Trustees whose term has come to an end - Deputy chairman David Williams, treasurer Mark Hampton, Dr Bernie Tipple, Matthew Gorman and Nick Hanling.

The Hospice’s Impact Report, which outlines its key achievements during the financial year 2018/19, is now available on the Hospice’s website at: stfrancis.org.uk/impactreport