Birmingham Hospice is proud to be your local hospice charity, providing exceptional care for patients and families in Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, Solihull and Sandwell. Whether that is help managing pain, bereavement support or providing relief from symptoms, every member of our team is dedicated to providing compassionate care and support.
We care for people in the best place for them – at our hospice, in the community, or in their own home. Birmingham Hospice supports the whole family as well as the patient throughout their journey and all our care is free of charge.
In March 2023, Birmingham Hospice became the new name for Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice and John Taylor Hospice. Our partnership, new name and unique identity celebrates a special 157-year heritage of care in our city, while supporting us to grow and reach even more people who need us.
It costs around £16 million to run all our vital hospice services each year, that’s £1,250,015 per month or £41,096 per day. As a charity, £5.5 million of this needs to be covered through fundraising activity and events, income from our shops and voluntary donations.
By taking part in Birmingham Running Festival’s events, you can make every moment matter for local people living with a terminal diagnosis.
The importance of being with your loved ones at the end of life – Fran and Laurence’s story
Fran and Laurence were an inseparable pair. The two were never seen far apart since they met 36 years ago and opened their own restaurant, The Boathouse in Sutton Park.
“People never saw us individually, it was always Fran and Laurence, together – no matter where we went it was always the two of us,” he said.
“When you lose that person, you feel like you are the outsider, even though you have a lot of support from family and friends.”
When Fran was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, the couple never expected it. Laurence was 20 years Fran’s senior, so when she found a lump on her arm while on holiday, it came as a shock to hear the word ‘cancer’.
Fran was referred to Birmingham Hospice for pain management. Our specialist teams visited her at home in Wylde Green to administer pain relief and complete regular check-ups.
“Everyone was brilliant; they were never in a rush,” Laurence said. “Nothing was too much hassle and they always answered our questions.”
When her pain wasn’t improving, Liz, one of our Clinical Nurse Specialists, invited Fran to come to our Inpatient Unit (IPU) for a few days so doctors could help her.
“She was cared for in the IPU but we never expected her to become so poorly so quickly,” Laurence said. “Fran really wanted to come home then. The hospice helped us get a hospital bed and we put it in the lounge, and I slept on the sofa.
“We had five days together at home in the end. I was holding her hand when she died.
“Having Fran at home meant I could be there with her, and we got that time together. It was comforting to me knowing Fran was where she wanted to be.”
Fran died age 53 in October 2022.
Speaking about his wife, Laurence said: “Fran had, in a very short life, packed hundreds of years’ worth of adventures into that time.
“She was never miserable, loved her friends and knew everyone who came to the restaurant.”
Fran’s generous family and friends raised £2,000 for our hospice at her celebration of life and Fran herself even raised around £7,000 for the hospice with her ‘Bra-B-Q’ fundraisers which she organised with her closest friends.
We couldn’t be more grateful to Laurence for sharing his story and his support.