40 Faces of hospice care | Meet Dr Helen Walker, Founder

9th June 2023

Dr Helen Walker, an elderly woman in green and Bob Neilans, man in suit with pink shirt and blue tie,

Sunday 11th June 2023 marks the 41st Birthday of St Barnabas Hospice.

For this week’s 40 Faces we would like to share a story about one of our founders, Helen Walker.

In memory of Dr Helen Walker

On 11th June 1977, Helen Walker sat at the heart of a small committee gathered to explore the possibility of better end-of-life care in Lincoln. Little did they know they would go on to create a legacy that would touch hundreds of thousands of families across Lincolnshire.

The inaugural meeting marked the beginning of our beloved Hospice in name and spirit. Held on that day in June, which is St Barnabas Day, it seems we were destined to be named after The Encourager – St Barnabas.

With Helen driving the group, they set about discovering whether Lincoln needed a hospice, a new concept at the time. First stop was a study day led by speakers experienced in end-of-life care and the interest was so great it was over-subscribed. Following their first success, the committee went on to gather the views of others in the community and spent time on Lincoln’s hospital wards. The outcome was a resounding ‘yes’!

Helen, Jenny Freeman, Sheila Briggs and Doreen Wood led the fundraising charge to make their vision a reality. They galvanised Lincoln’s community spirit, and people dug deep to support them. In 1982, after fundraising for five years, St Barnabas Hospice opened its doors on Lindum Terrace, and went on to become a true local success story.

It wasn’t long before the demand for end-of-life care was so great that new premises – and more money – had to be found. So, it was we came to call Nettleham Road home.

Thousands of patients and families have somewhere to turn today because of the time, expertise and love of Dr Helen Walker and those she rallied for support. More families than ever before can rely on us thanks to the kindness and dedication of our community over the last 40 years.

It is only fitting we dedicate our 40 Faces campaign to Dr Helen Walker and all the very special patients and families we’ve cared for across Lincolnshire.

Fundraise for us

Support your local Hospice by taking part in one of our pre-organised challenges, or take on your own! You will receive support along every step of the way!

Learn more about Fundraising


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