Goodbye Father Stephen, we’ll miss you!

Friday, 31 May 2019
Here at the Hospice we are very sad to have waved goodbye to our Chaplain, Father Stephen, following his retirement last month.
Rest assured, after five years at the Hospice, we didn’t let him sneak away without a fuss. In fact, we went all out and threw him a surprise party at our Badsworth Outreach group. 
Badsworth was Father Stephen’s parish, so it was extra special for him that we held his party there, but unfortunately it wasn’t as much as a surprise as we hoped!
Talking about the party, Father Stephen said; ‘It wasn’t the best-kept surprise, no! We had Babs, on face time and she was talking to Jo and she said ‘What time are the children coming?’ So yes, she let the cat out the bag really! But that’s Babs.’
Children from Badsworth C of E Junior and Infants School came along to join in the celebrations; they regularly visit our Outreach group and sing for our staff and patients.
The children joined Father Stephen to sing his favourite songs, then everyone played a themed bingo game, where instead of numbers, they had to look out for Father Stephen’s favourite things. It was highly amusing, and the whole room were in fits of giggles.
We grabbed Father Stephen for a quick chat after the singing had ended, he said;
‘It’s immense isn’t it, I love these kids, I go into school regularly, they come into my church and many of them sing in my choir. They all know me and we have such fun. We introduced them to Outreach, and they always ask how everyone is, it’s so nice watching the two generations together.’
We then asked him to reflect on his time at the Hospice, and tell us about his work over the past five years. He said;
‘It’s been awesome! It’s been a privilege just to do what I do. I just kind of bubble around talking to people and hopefully we just help them to cope with what they’re going through. 
‘Yesterday, I went into a patients bedroom, he’s not well and was just laid in bed. He had the bedsides up; I just leaned on the bedside and started chatting to him. He knows he’s dying, I know he’s dying and we just had a fantastic conversation. He said ‘I knew you wouldn’t let me down.’ and it just choked me. He knew I was retiring, but he knew I’d come before I retired. It was lovely and it’s moments like that, that make it so worthwhile.’
We would like to wish Father Stephen the very best of luck in his future endeavours. He is moving to Stafford to be closer to his family. Talking about his future plans, he told us; 
‘I’ve not got much planned, I’m having a summer house and I’ve got to sort that out and make it how I want it. It’s a small house and my wife is going to have a room in the house and I’m going to have the summer house. What frightens me the most about retirement is having 24/7 with my wife, she won’t mind me saying that!
‘We’re moving down to Stafford; I have a son, and two grandchildren there. Two days after we move, I’ve already been signed up for childcare!’ 
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