New Chairman for Highland Hospice | Highland Hospice

New Chairman for Highland Hospice

21 August 2012

After two successful yet challenging years as Highland Hospice Chairman and after a total of 7 years on the Board, Peter Swanson is due to step down from his position on 20th August, when Kirk Tudhope, current Vice Chairman, will take over.

Peter has thoroughly enjoyed his time as Chairman but admits his role was challenging from the start:

“My time as Chairman has been both wonderful and demanding, as shortly after taking over from Jan Baird, we lost the Chief Executive Officer and the Director of Fundraising, Retail and Communications to promoted posts elsewhere. I found myself without the people I had established great working relationships with, and who had woven themselves into the fabric of the Hospice operations.”

“We set about running the Hospice with the remaining Executive Group, working as a team with myself and my Vice Chairman at the time, Ewan MacDonald, sharing the duties of the departed executives.

“We continued to run the Hospice in this way for nearly a year until Kenny Steele was appointed, and as a result I gained an insight into the full workings of Highland Hospice which most Chairs do not get the opportunity to do. It was a demanding yet really satisfying time and it showed me the depth of feeling for the organisation at all levels.”

Peter’s first contact with the Hospice came when his mother was cared for in the In-Patient Unit. He witnessed first-hand the care and attention every patient and family received, and this experience led to his involvement with the Board. Peter now has plans to take things a bit easier as he has also stepped down as Chair of the Highland Employer’s Coalition, however he is keen to still have an active role within the Hospice, assisting in fundraising and helping in any other way he can.

Chief Executive Kenny Steele paid tribute to Peter’s contribution and said:
“Taking over at the Hopsice was surprisingly smooth after the absence of a Chief Executive for nearly a year. Much of that is down to Peter’s commitment to supporting the organisation through this period and I’m very grateful to him for that.”

Kirk Tudhope, a solicitor and partner in Ledingham Chalmers LLP, first became involved with the Hospice when he was asked to share his professional knowledge with the Board over 10 years ago.  He has worked alongside Peter as Vice Chair and has high praise for his predecessor:

“I don’t want to embarrass Peter but he has done an immense amount for the Hospice.  Anyone who knows him will be able to confirm he is unique. Accordingly there is no point me trying to replicate Peter, instead I and the Board will look to mirror his energy and enthusiasm.

“Fortunately Peter’s commitment to the Hospice was not tied to his post and he has already made it clear that we can continue to call upon his guidance, and I know he will also remain a great advocate for the Hospice.”

Both Peter and Kirk say they feel privileged to be involved with the Hospice, and explain, in their opinion, what makes the Hospice the special place it is.

Peter said, “It is the people at every level and involved in every activity that makes the Hospice special, from volunteers to consultants. I recently had a long meeting with Cecilia and Flora, our founders, and learned the extent of their journey over 30 years. From taking an idea to fruition, these ladies and many others have given long term commitment and love to the Hospice which I believe is our strength.  

Kirk expanded on this by saying:

“Throughout my time with the Hospice I have been aware of the need for us to be both business like and to provide the highest standard of service whilst not losing our soul. I believe that the Hospice has managed to preserve this fine balance by looking to provide the quality of support that the people of the Highlands deserve while still retaining the ethos and the heart which can be traced back to our founders Flora and Cecilia.

“My feelings may be best captured by a patient I visited in the Hospice shortly before I joined the Board. He told me that what made the Hospice special in his eyes was that everyone in the Hospice had time for him personally.
“I am confident that whatever challenges and necessary changes we face that the Hospice will continue to give people the time they deserve.”

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