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Our History

The History of The Kirkwood began in June 1981, after the screening of a play called ‘Going Gently’ on BBC2.

The play showed the last days of two men dying, afraid and alone, from terminal illnesses in a drab and grey hospital ward. It highlighted a vital need for close, loving attention in a more compassionate environment for those confronting their final days.

After the play aired, a moving television review was printed in the Huddersfield Examiner, which went on to emphasise the virtues of the growing hospice movement in this country and expressed regret that there were no such facilities for local people in our area.

David Stocks, who had seen his father suffer from cancer and die at home because there was nowhere to take him, took inspiration from the article. He penned his own letter to the Examiner in response, stressing the need for a hospice in Huddersfield and urging like-minded people to get in touch.

David received a few responses to his letter and a small group, including Dr Alan Barlow, a Consultant at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, gathered to discuss the possibility of a hospice for Huddersfield.

During the meeting, the small group decided to contribute 50p each to launch the Huddersfield Hospice Appeal with the eventual aim of raising enough money to build and equip a new hospice for the town.

That group raised £4.50 that evening.

Less than 3 months later, some £10,000 had been raised.

“I will never forget how so many people worked so tirelessly to make the dream of a hospice in Kirklees a reality.” David Stocks

In 1983, the Dewsbury Hospice Appeal, which had been raising funds for a hospice in North Kirklees, combined with the Huddersfield Hospice Appeal and it was decided to have one hospice for the whole of Kirklees.

Fundraising continued day after day, week after week and month after month throughout the local area to make the idea of a hospice for Kirklees a reality.

Throughout these first few years, David and the appeal committee were constantly overwhelmed by the generosity of the community and by their desire to have a hospice for local people.

Kirkwood Hospice opened its doors in March 1987 to care for local people living with life-limiting illnesses and provide support for their families and friends, free of charge.

Today, The Kirkwood is not just a building, an In-Patient Unit or place of care. We are a movement of people. We are clinical and medical professionals, patients, carers and families. We are employees, supporters and volunteers. We may look a little different, but our mission remains the same today, as it did at the very beginning; to provide the very best care for anyone affected by any life limiting illness, every step of the way.

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