A dedicated trustee and volunteer at St Catherine’s Hospice who is inspired to improve end of life experiences following the death of his son has had his contribution officially recognised through a prestigious national award.
Tony Bonser, who has been involved with the hospice for more than 10 years, received the League of Mercy award after being nominated by the charity for his service and commitment. He is one of only 50 across the country to receive the accolade this year.
The retired deputy headteacher from Hoghton began volunteering as a driver for St Catherine’s, transporting outpatients to the Lostock Hall hospice each week who would have otherwise struggled to access its support.
Since 2014, he has sat on the board of trustees. He now serves as Vice Chairman and is also chair of both the Patients and Families Sub-Committee – which drives patient and public involvement in the hospice’s decision making – and the Knowledge Exchange Committee, which works to promote the sharing of skills and experience across the health and social care sector.
Tony – a passionate advocate for person-centred care – is also a lay-member of the Palliative and End of Life Care Strategic Leaders Network. The 76-year-old is motivated in his work by his family’s experiences when their son Neil died from cancer in 2009, aged just 35.
Lynn Kelly, chief executive of St Catherine’s, said: “Tony’s dedication to campaign for people to speak more openly and honestly about death and bereavement comes from his own personal experiences, which he draws on to raise awareness of end of life care issues locally and nationally.
“He wants to break down barriers and encourage people and professionals to talk about death, dying and bereavement, so that people can be more prepared, ensure their wishes are met, and that what is important to them is achieved.
“Tony is innovative, courageous and confident in his beliefs – whilst remaining humble and personable. He supports our charity to develop and progress to meet current and future challenging demands, always keeping patients and their families at the heart of everything he does.
“We are delighted his valuable and unique contribution to St Catherine’s has been formally recognised with this well-deserved award.”
Tony, who attended the ceremony in London with wife Dorothy, said he was honoured to receive the award, adding: “After Neil’s death, it was important to us that we worked to make his story known, and especially to improve communication for those who needed palliative and end of life care.
“We are both delighted that St Catherine’s Hospice have given us that opportunity, and also that we are able, through the hospice, to help improve care for those in the area Neil loved so much.”
Share with your friends!