40 Faces of hospice care | Meet Neil Paulger, former Director

14th April 2023

A man, Neil Paulger, who is a former staff member at St Barnabas Hospice, photographed in black and white, against a black backdrop

When Neil had a career change at the age of 50, nothing prepared him for what was to come. He walked into St Barnabas with zero fundraising experience and quickly took the Hospice from surviving to thriving!

Rising through the ranks from joiner to MD, Neil spent 35 years in construction before he fell out of love with it. He didn’t know what was next for him. But when he spotted an advert for St Barnabas Fundraising Manager, he thought he might be on to something. It turns out he was right, and Neil spent the next 15 years making a success of everything he turned his hand to.

His plan was to learn – and quick! He needed to hit the ground running if donations were to keep up with the demand for our services. And he did. Neil took our biggest fundraiser, the Gold Rush Raffle, and tripled its profit in his first year. He made it so profitable that after two years, it needed a lottery licence to run! Next came a successful appeal to raise an extra £300,000 for Lincoln’s building on Hawthorn Road. Every year for his 15 years, Neil and his team hit their ever-increasing targets.

Neil was ambitious and not afraid to think big, and our then-CEO spotted it. She asked him to become Director of Business Development, putting him at the helm of our retail team too. He had no idea about retail… so he said yes!

Over eight years, he transformed the shops and the entire retail setup. Along with a new Retail Manager, they grew profit from £82,000 to over half a million pounds.

Neil thrived on the excitement of fundraising but couldn’t resist donning his hard hat again when St Barnabas started their Hospice in the Hospital service in Grantham. While still running several departments, Neil went back to his roots and oversaw the construction works that created our provision of care in that area of the county.

Back to the office, and he was asked to take IT under his wing. He didn’t know much about IT, but… he said yes! He developed the service and got it on track in just ten months, crediting it to the IT Manager and his team with the modesty we came to expect from Neil.

By this point, Neil was into his sixties and began talking about retirement. But life and our then-CEO had other ideas! And he was asked to oversee clinical services. Of course, his response was he didn’t know the first thing about running clinical services. Reassured by three competent General Managers overseeing the service, you guessed it, he said yes!

By the time Neil retired in 2014, the only department he wasn’t running was Finance!

Neil would often talk about luck, good timing and having the best people around him. We don’t deny he brought out the best in his colleagues, but Neil made his own luck and timed everything to perfection.

In his own words…

“Working for the Hospice was everything I wanted when I left construction, but I never thought the successes would be in such volume. And the people I got to work with – that was really special. People gave everything. I had some very good people around me.”

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

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


Make friends, use your know how, make a difference. We are grateful to the hundreds of people who give their time each week.

Register your interest