Tributes have been paid to one of our trustees who began supporting the hospice movement after experiencing the difference it made when his late wife was ill.
Philip Jones died at home in Wigan on Easter Sunday, April 21st, after being diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2017.
A trustee at St Catherine’s for the past 10 years, he made a significant contribution to the work of the charity as both Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.
A life-long supporter of good causes across the North West – in particular grassroots Rugby Football League in the region and social housing with the Progress Housing Group – Philip became a powerful ambassador for the hospice movement following the care of his wife Lois by Wigan and Leigh Hospice 15 years ago.
Colleagues at St Catherine’s praised both the skills and experience he brought to his role from 36 years in the retail sector – the last 16 as company secretary at the Co-operative – and the compassion he showed for the patients and families the hospice is serving.
John Chesworth, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “Philip was a dynamo on the St Catherine’s Board of Trustees – a passionate advocate of the mission and values of the hospice, who always managed to align compassion and care with his keen eye for business. This is essential for the hospice which each year needs to raise £5.6m to deliver St Catherine’s services to the local community.
“Even as ill health affected him very seriously in recent months, he continued to contribute massively to the life of St Catherine’s – showing a selfless commitment to the care of others.”
Stephen Greenhalgh, Chief Executive of St Catherine’s, said: “When Philip came to St Catherine’s to be interviewed for a trustee role, the board was left in no doubt about his suitability as a trustee. This was in part due to his exemplary record with the Co-operative Movement, but also his tremendous knowledge of charitable activity in health and social care and his empathy with the benefits of high quality end of life care. In addition, Philip was driven by his own experience of the untimely loss of his wife. His arrival at St Catherine’s was timely as we sought to find our way through the effects of the 2008/9 recession.
“Volunteering at St Catherine’s, Philip displayed superb strategic acumen coupled with an invaluable down to earth understanding of the day to day experiences of people living with conditions like cancer, motor neurone disease and heart failure.
“Throughout his own illness, Philip remained committed to St Catherine’s, showing extraordinary courage and determination for which I have the highest admiration. Despite being desperately poorly, Philip came to our last board meeting in March, presenting the budget for the forthcoming year. He was a remarkably dedicated man.”
Dr Stephen Ward, a fellow trustee at St Catherine’s who chairs the Patient Care Committee, praised the impact Philip had on the work of the charity.
“Using his skill and expertise, Philip went to great lengths to ensure the hospice’s finances are maximised in order that as many patients and families as possible can be cared for by the hospice,” he said.
“But his contribution was not limited to matters of financial expertise – his insight and contributions to all areas of the hospice were extremely valued and well delivered.”
Along with Philip’s role at St Catherine’s Hospice, he also served as Vice President of Progress Housing Group and was Chairman of the RFL Facilities Trust. He also Chaired the Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, which supports young people from disadvantaged areas.
His funeral will take place on Friday May 3rd at St John’s RC Church in Powell Street, Wigan at 11.30pm, followed by a reception at Wrightington Country Club from 1pm.