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18th May 2020

Heritage stories: Doreen Hill

Doreen Hill, 85, took up the post of assistant part time cook on 1st May 1985 with the salary of £1.84p per hour, working her way up a few years later to senior cook responsible for the whole of catering.

Doreen Hill


When  I first came up for an interview with matron she said all she wants is for the kitchen there to be the hub of the place.

If you’re in your home it’s where most discussions take place, things always happen in the kitchen, and she wanted it to be like that there. I like to think that’s what it was like. 

The volunteers were a great help; we wouldn’t have been able to manage the kitchen without the volunteers. I don’t think The Hospice would have run without the volunteers. They were all great.

With the patients, if they particularly wanted something and we hadn’t got it, we’d nip up the road to Tesco and get it for them. We had a lot of contact with the patients and we got to know them all, got to know their families. We did try to give everybody whatever they wanted.

We had a lot of contact with the patients and we got to know them all, got to know their families. We did try to give everybody whatever they wanted.

The Hospice has grown and the building has changed a lot, but it’s still got that same calming, lovely, peaceful, homely atmosphere. That hasn’t gone and I hope it won’t go because that’s what it’s all about really.

It’s a home from home for some people. It’s a lovely place. 

It had a family atmosphere; a feeling that everybody cared for each other. You were important and that’s how it made you feel.

I remember the first patient at St Helena Hospice, a young girl. I can remember she was in a room on her own just near the kitchen, she was only in her early 20s. That was heartbreaking.

It was a privilege to work there and it’s lovely to feel I’ve done something special in my life.

Doreen Hill

St Helena Hospice Heritage Stories project supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund 

National Lottery Heritage Fund

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