Tributes pour in for St Leonard’s Hospice CEO

Jul 26, 2018


Martyn Callaghan, the chief executive of St Leonard’s Hospice in York, has died after a short illness.

St Leonard’s Hospice have released a statement saying he “will be hugely missed by the trustees, staff and volunteers here at St Leonard’s Hospice, and everyone who has had the privilege of working with him throughout his career.”

The statement goes on to say “he made a lasting impression on the people he met, both personally and professionally, and will be remembered for his sense of integrity, warm empathetic personality, and his great sense of humour.”

Martyn worked in education and then at St Catherine’s Hospice in Scarborough and Barnsley Hospice before joining St Leonard’s.

During his 15 years at St Leonard’s Hospice he oversaw the introduction of the Hospice@Home service enabling them to take specialist palliative care into the community, and they opened the Sunflower Centre, which offers flexible services that are responsive to the individual needs of patients, their families and carers. During his time at the hospice they also received the ‘outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Tributes have been pouring in from colleagues and members of the healthcare and hospice sectors since the news of his death was announced.  

David Dickson, Chair of the Board of Trustees at St Leonard’s Hospice, said:

“Martyn was a one-off. He exuded kindness and generosity of his time, expertise and insight, and will be sorely missed by so many. What he did for St Leonard’s Hospice, and the wider hospice movement, was done with incredible modesty and humour.

Martyn was dedicated to providing outstanding end-of-life care for our patients and their families and would wish this to continue.

Naturally our thoughts here at St Leonard’s remain with his family, who wish to have their privacy respected.”

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said:

"Martyn was a powerful character in the hospice movement. From his first role at St Catherine’s in Scarborough then at Barnsley Hospice and finally St Leonard’s Hospice, his passion and commitment for hospice care was apparent in everything he did. He challenged and provoked us and this willingness to be involved and play an active part, as well as sharing his views and supporting those around him, played a pivotal part in evolving and driving forward hospice care locally and nationally. He will be sorely missed by us all.”

Jenny Brandom, NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Deputy Chief Nurse, commented:

“Everyone at the CCG was saddened to learn of the passing of Martyn Callaghan who, in his 15 years as Chief Executive at St Leonard’s Hospice, worked tirelessly to improve the quality of end-of-life care in the local area.

“He was a true advocate for end-of-life services across the Vale of York, but his influence in this area of healthcare was also felt regionally and nationally.

“He will be missed not only as an important member of the York healthcare community but also as a friend of the CCGs. Our thoughts go out to Martyn’s loved ones during what is undoubtedly a very difficult time for them all.”

St Leonard’s Hospice added that his death is a great loss to the hospice, the local community in North Yorkshire, and to hospices across the country. They also stated that they will continue the work that was so important to him, and would like to thank those who have offered support and time during the last few difficult weeks.

Martyn died at the end of June after falling ill while on holiday in Spain. A private family funeral has already taken place.

For more information visit St Leonard’s Hospice

What does hospice care mean to you?