First Strathcarron Hospice matron praises backing given to service by public amid pandemic

The first matron to work at a Falkirk district palliative care facility has been touched by the generosity shown towards the service throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

By Jonathon Reilly
Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 12:49 pm

Molly Parsons MBE is not surprised by the support Strathcarron Hospice has received.

Rather, she is simply thankful so many have chosen to fundraise on its behalf over the past year – in spite of the challenges posed by Covid.

The Fankerton facility still requires to raise £12,900 each day to cover its running costs and, as it approaches its 40th anniversary on April 21, the 74-year-old knows better than most how crucial the public’s support is.

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Molly Parsons holds many fond memories of Strathcarron Hospice, having worked at the facility for more than 20 years. Picture: Michael Gillen.

As she gave her backing to The Falkirk Herald's Support Our Strathcarron campaign, Ms Parsons said: “I would just like to say thank you to those who have been working and fundraising away, despite the difficult time people have had, as it’s not only Covid people are ill with.

“I think people have done terribly well. We’re just grateful to anybody who gives any money to the hospice.

“It’s a great place and offers a sort of care that isn’t always easy to get these days.”

When doctor Harold Lyon first devised the idea for the creation of Strathcarron four decades ago, he looked to two others for help.

Molly Parsons, Strathcarron Hospice's first matron. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The first of those was administrator and fundraiser Tom Scott.

The other was Ms Parsons, who was tasked with acquiring a range of “nursing and domestic equipment”.

After more than 20 years in the role, the Killearn resident has a wealth of fond memories of the lengths staff would go to in order to make life as comfortable as possible for the terminally ill.

Former Strathcarron Hospice matron Molly Parsons has praised the public for supporting the service throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Ms Parsons had previously worked at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and then in the chilly outpost of Labrador in the north east of Canada, alongside Eskimos, prior to her arrival at the hospice.

It’s the warmth of Strathcarron’s volunteers that’ll forever stay in her mind, though.

She explained: “A hospice sounds a sad place but the atmosphere wasn’t. We could do things in our own way.

“We could be imaginative and, because we were dealing with so much sadness, the staff were full of fun. Everyone from the cook to the domestic staff entered into everything we did.

“I remember going round the wards in Glasgow Royal Infirmary. I made an inventory for the hospice to give me an idea.

“I forgot the egg cups – there was one patient who had asked for a boiled egg and they had to have it in a medical cup!

“We were sitting in meetings very late into the night with all of the committees, all these people who gave us their time like building, finance, accounts, executive and nursing committees.

“These people gave us a huge amount of their expertise. They were fantastic.

“The community of farmers raised a huge amount of money when we first opened. They were tremendous, along with all those committees and volunteers.

“It was exciting and pretty trying because, from 13 beds, it grew into day and home care.

“It expanded all the time I was there. We had nurses who visited patients in their own homes and we had up to 100 day patient visits per week by the time I left.”

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