40 Faces of hospice care | Meet Sheila Briggs, Fundraiser

21st July 2023

A lady, Sheila Briggs, who is one of the founders of St Barnabas Hospice, photographed in black and white, against a black backdrop

Sheila can’t recall how she came to be sat in a meeting room on Steep Hill in Lincoln with Hospice co-founder Jenny Freeman and other like-minded ladies planning their next fundraising event.

But that day and that meeting shaped her life for the next 40-something years.

Working as a nurse on a busy surgical ward, she’d occasionally nurse patients coming to the end of their lives. While Sheila and the team cared for them as well as they could, they knew it wasn’t enough. So, when the idea of a place dedicated to end-of-life care was mooted, Sheila knew straightaway she wanted to help.

It was during a fundraising barbecue for hospital midwives that Sheila’s fate was truly sealed. Her friend Elaine whispered that she’d like to have a BBQ in her garden…if Sheila would organise it. She did, and before she knew it, Sheila was up to her ears in planning barbecues, garden parties and coffee mornings as word spread about the Hospice plans. More and more people wanted to help in any way they could. From there, the Skellingthorpe Fundraising Group was born.

For more than two decades, the 12-strong group used their skills and contacts to raise over £91,000 for the Hospice. Craft fairs, Open Gardens, ladies’ nights and more – the group became known for putting on fantastic events. And supporters returned year after year.

There have been a few ‘interesting’ moments along the way. In the very early days, Sheila and others organised a car boot sale in a Tesco’s car park, a relatively new idea in the UK. Event day arrived and only then did Sheila and the ladies realise that perhaps the advertising posters should’ve explained more about a car boot sale. Some people had taken the description quite literally and arrived with bags and boxes of shoes and boots!

Even after more than 40 years, Sheila’s support for the Hospice has not waned. Her fundraising days might be behind her, but she continues to be a much valued and much-loved advocate for all we do.

In her own words…

“I always say the Hospice isn’t for dying – it’s for living the rest of your life. Making sure people have comfort and care at the end of their life is vital. And I’ve met some lovely people over the years who have gone to amazing lengths to help the Hospice.”

To see all 40 Faces and their stories, please visit: https://stbarnabashospice.co.uk/40faces

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