Tributes to Former Francis House Chairman Robin Wood

Former chairman of Francis House Robin Wood, died aged 85 on 5th January 2015 after becoming unwell over Christmas.  Robin Wood, from Ilkley only recently retired from the Chairmanship of the Board of Trustees in July, 2014 after serving 22 years.

Robin chaired his first meeting on February 22, 1992.  Robin dedicated his life to the hospice and the hospice movement, only missing one trustee meeting during two decades of service.

Back in 1987, there were only three children’s hospices in the UK. Robin was the Administrator at one of them, Martin House in Wetherby, Yorkshire.  Three years later, Father Thomas Mulheran and Sister Aloysius, visited Martin House as they wanted to provide respite care for sick children and their families in the north west.  That was the beginning of Robin’s long-standing relationship with Francis House and its founder Sister Aloysius.

Reverend David Ireland, Chief Executive of Francis House said: “Robin cared deeply about the children’s hospice movement as a whole, and was particularly concerned that the support given should be for all the family, not just for the sick child. Right through his leadership there was a feeling of security.”

Born Sept, 1929, a former Chief Executive of the Wool, Jute and Flax Training Board and Chairman of Leeds West District Health Authority, Robin was awarded the CBE in January, 1985 for services to the NHS.

“One of the most important relationships in the hospice is that between the Chairman and the Chief Executive. Both with Sister Aloysius and myself it was a relationship which encompassed deep friendship. Robin will be sadly missed. But he would have felt it important that Francis House continues with the same ethos and philosophy that he worked so hard to establish.”

In 1996 the hospice had only one child over the age of 16 using the hospice, currently 87 young people over the age of 16 are on their roll. The hospice supports over 370 sick children and young people a year.  In May, 2014 Francis House doubled its size from 7 to 14 bedrooms with the opening of an extension suitable for the needs of teenagers and young adults with life-limiting conditions.

“The last five years have seen remarkable expansion and development of the Francis House services. This has been done in a sustainable and stable way, in no small measure due to Robin’s pragmatic and focused leadership. Robin’s first concern was always the best interest of the Francis House families,”

After Robin’s retirement Chris Roberts, a Trustee since 1992, took over as chair.

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