Caritas Christi Hospice, Kew, Oral History Project

What can I say about this one? There were nine people, religious and laity, who between them had dedicated well over 150 years to Caritas Christi and the care of the dying, and who spoke to me freely and willingly. Palliative care took on a new meaning for me, as did the expression ‘dying with dignity’. It wasn’t all solemn though; I was told the story of "Andrew the Peacock" who flew in one day and made a home in the grounds of CCH. He was welcome and popular until he learnt through observation how to operate the electronic front doors. Unfortunately he took to parading through the corridors at his pleasure and had to be sent to another home.

This is a rare organisation that manages to blend the legacy of the Sisters of Charity with the relentless demands of the 21st century health sector. There is much to be learnt from CCH, however the funds did not stretch beyond a handful of interviews. A deeper exploration with more interviews and research may be of interest to philanthropic funds concerned with health care and social justice…