The Great Gadsby; Katharine House Hospice founder, celebrates 25 years

Katharine House Hospice NNL-161018-123314001
Katharine House Hospice NNL-161018-123314001

For the past 25 years Katharine House Hospice has been an integral part of the Banbury community helping those with end of life illnesses manage their symptoms and find inner strength and peace .

The facility, just outside Adderbury, is a purpose-built hospice that radiates the relaxed aura of a country retreat.

Neil Gadsby, president of the hospice NNL-160202-182737009

Neil Gadsby, president of the hospice NNL-160202-182737009

This purposeful design to be as far removed from institutionalised care as possible underlines the thought and dedication that has gone into the hospice, by its founder, Neil Gadsby, since its inception 30 years ago.

Mr Gadsby said: “The charity is more than 30 years old. The charity was founded and registered, in January 1985.

“The discrepancy between 25 years and 30 years were that those five years were spent developing the plans, both practically and philosophically and raising the funds to build it.”

They say from small acorns great oak trees grow and the hospice has blossomed from a care facility helping 80 patients a year to one that now aids 700.

Until February this year Mr Gadsby was the hospice’s chairman but has since ‘stood down’ from this role and is now enjoying life as its president.

Mr Gadsby said: “I’ve stepped right back. They’ve now given me the title of president which means I don’t have any responsibilities or any decisions to make and it’s a great relief.”

During his tenure as chairman, however, Mr Gadsby has successfully steered the hospice through continued change, evolution and growth but the main motivating factor has always remained the same.

Mr Gadsby said: “It is very much a community organisation. There are somewhere in the region of 200 voluntary independent hospices in the country and each one of them is governed by a group of volunteer trustees who have no financial interest whatsoever in the organisation, it’s entirely voluntary.

“The symbiotic relationship between those that provide the service and those that use the service is one of the best things that has happened in British society in the last half century, I really believe that.

“I constantly see people giving more than they have to, more than they need to.”

This altruism has, over the years, been given without judgment or reservation to more than 9,000 patients and the charity hopes to develop a hospice at home service in the future.

Despite its significance within the community Mr Gadsby remains humble about his efforts, simply saying: “I feel satisfied.”