We are saddened to hear of the death of Mick Thorpe, a Vice President of Hospice UK, and our thoughts are with his family at this time.

Mick Thorpe, Vice-President, Hospice UK


Mick had a deep commitment to hospice care. He was a founder trustee of Saint Catherine’s Hospice in Scarborough and played a key role in the evolution of Hospice UK. In 1998 Mick succeeded our founder, Anne Duchess of Norfolk CBE, as Chair of Hospice UK. He also served as a Chair of the Forum of Chairmen of Independent Hospices (now known as the Hospice Boards Council). In many ways, Mick built the foundations upon which Hospice UK still stands.  

Mick’s interest in hospice care extended beyond the UK to an international arena. He served as Chair of the UK Forum for hospice and palliative care worldwide and was a strong supporter of the founding of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance. Mick was also closely involved with the establishment of the inaugural World Hospice and Palliative Care Day in 2005.

We honour his legacy and commitment to hospice care.

A personal tribute to Mick by David Praill


Here David Praill, Chief Executive of Help the Hospices (1996-2015) shares his personal tribute to Mick.

"Mick was both caring and rigorous. He saw the big picture at the same time as knowing when to focus on details. He brilliantly led the board through the transition of Help the Hospices from a small charity, led by its equally remarkable founder Anne Duchess of Norfolk CBE, which focused primarily on education, into the much larger and more impactful organisation that Hospice UK is today. 

When I started at Help the Hospices in 1996 the CEO of a local hospice came to visit me on my first day. He made it clear that the task ahead for Help the Hospices was to encourage all the hospices across the UK to work more closely together and to speak nationally with one voice. As a sector we are like a 'sleeping Leviathan' waiting to be awakened, he said. The challenge was clear.

Mick, with his legal training, understanding of governance, experience of his hospice in Scarborough as well as at the Forum of Chairmen, was the perfect person to lead the governance transition involved in such a refocus. Alongside the development of closer relationships with local hospices and a 'national voice' came the building of a new board, the strengthening of support for education, grants programmes, advocacy and other projects designed to support the development and sustainability of local hospice services. He was also actively involved in the appointments to the first senior leadership team. 

I quickly discovered that Mick was also quite brilliant at scanning the external environment and during our weekly calls he would always have a list of questions to work through; was I aware of this or had we read this article, etc. These encounters also showed his sense of humour as he enjoyed presenting me with a series of questions and there was always at least one I couldn't answer. He kept us on our toes and encouraged a thinking and enquiring leadership environment. 

Mick was a passionate believer in the holistic nature of hospice palliative care - body, mind and spirit. It was a great privilege to have known and to have worked closely with him. Hospice Care is indebted to him and he deserves to be remembered."