40 Faces of hospice care | Meet Bob Neilans, President of Trustees

24th March 2023

A Man, Bob Neilans, who is Honouree Lifetime President of St Barnabas Hospice, photographed in black and white, against a black backdrop

When Bob joined our board of trustees in September 2007, he lasted just a month in his role because in October he took over the chairman’s role – it was the fastest promotion in our 40-year history!

It seems Bob’s working life had been leading up to this point. Since 1995, his career in the NHS brought him into contact with end-of-life care. While it was one part of a wide portfolio in the early days, Bob eventually moved into specialist commissioning, working alongside numerous hospices.

But it was St Barnabas that held a special place in his heart. Bob has felt a connection with the charity since the Hospice opened on Nettleham Road in Lincoln and he saw Jenny Freeman and fellow founders bring it to life. So when the time came for chairman Edward Bliss to stand down, he was keen to pass the baton to Bob.

Bob’s time as chairman got off to an interesting start when four trustees resigned at his first meeting! But it was onwards and upwards as he mirrored the grit and spirit of our founders to evolve the Hospice to meet increasing demand and changing legislation. So much changed for St Barnabas under Bob’s leadership – robust governance, modernised people management and a driven senior team with a can-do attitude. Yet one thing has remained the same – our professionalism and care.

Today, Bob is our honorary lifetime president after retiring as chairman in 2019. He is confident that leadership of the Board has passed onto equally competent hands that will take it onto bigger and better things, as he continues to be actively involved. He can often be found visiting our Hospices and shops across the county to catch up with colleagues and meet new staff, he’s also regularly called upon to share his knowledge and experience with the board of trustees. He’s only too happy to get involved in our fundraising activities too! When the fundraising team was a person short for its infamous Strictly Come Dancing event, Bob gallantly stepped in at the last minute. He frequently hot-stepped it around our meeting rooms with a willing member of staff, brushing up his skills for the big event. He didn’t win – but he did us proud!

In his own words…

“As chairman, I enjoyed working with the executive team, meeting staff and volunteers who are in a class of their own. St Barnabas is a big team effort. Everyone has a can-do attitude, and they’re to be praised for that. I’m immensely proud to continue to be part of the Hospice as honorary lifetime president.”


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

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