THE chair of the board at a hospice in Runcorn has announced his retirement after a decade of service.

Halton Haven Hospice has expressed its gratitude to Phil Hallam for his help in steering the hospice through ‘turbulent’ times.

Particularly during the Covid crisis.

Members of the Barnfield Avenue hospice said Phil, a retired Widnes GP, has been ‘instrumental’ in ensuring the community funded charity is in a strong position to continue to provide palliative and end of life care to local residents.

Speaking on stepping down as chair of the board, Phil said: “It’s been an honour to serve as chair of the trustee board.

“In addition to the continued success of the Light Up A Life initiative and annual Santa Dash, my overriding memory is of the dedication of the staff and volunteers in providing a caring and compassionate service to the residents of Halton in need of palliative care.

“This involves everyone because providing such a level of care requires so much input from the admirable kitchen staff to volunteers collecting money - everything contributes to the care of the patients. 

“I’m pleased I was able to do my small part to help provide support and governance to the senior management team and to ensure the charity can continue to provide the level of care residents of Halton expect.”

Viv Culleton, chief executive officer at the hospice, said: “Phil and I joined the hospice around the same time back in 2013, over the years we have both accepted more senior hospice related positions resulting in the need to collaborate regularly, be decision makers and invest a great deal of time revising, reviewing and refreshing the core of the organisation in a bid to solidify the future of the hospice.”

Referring to ‘significant challenges’ the hospice has faced during the 10 years Phil has been a chair of trustees, she added: “Phil has been generous and flexible with his time and provided support to myself and the executive team, personally I have always felt comforted to know Phil could be relied upon to listen and question, it is evident to all, Phil cares about the sustainability of the hospice recognising it's value to the people of Halton.”

The hospice has now elected a new chairperson.

Emma Guy, who runs her own award-winning acupuncture clinic in nearby Northwich, will step into these shoes.

A worthy candidate for the job, Emma has gained a ‘wealth of experience’ in the health care sector having worked in hospices in Chester and Winsford.

She has also been a parish councillor for almost ten years, and a special constable for Cheshire Constabulary.

Emma was recently nominated by Cheshire Life as a Cheshire Champion for her work raising awareness on Breast Cancer and particularly for her tireless campaigning as an ambassador for charity, Prevent Breast Cancer.

“Back in 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer whilst working with another local hospice,” Emma said.

“It is through my own experiences, I have seen first-hand the incredible work hospice staff do and have a full understanding of the many challenges ahead that need to be overcome to ensure Halton Haven prospers and is able to continue to provide the high-quality support, treatment, and rehabilitation it has become renowned for.”