Jill Thornton - President
Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, Farnham
I lead the Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy team at Phyllis Tuckwell. Looking back, I can see that my journey began back in the 1970s when I grew up as a ‘child of the manse’ in the north of England. My Christian faith has always been important to me, but for a number of reasons, I haven’t always enjoyed an easy relationship with the church. In my early twenties this led me to ‘escape’ to the theatre which I loved for its power to tell stories and move people. I trained in Stage Management at RADA and went on to work at a regional playhouse, doing everything from rigging lights and directing shows to planning building work to keep the roof on. While in this role, despite my misgivings, I felt called to the ministry. So I went back to university in Manchester, did an MA in Contextual Theology, and in 2001 was ordained by the United Reformed Church.
I subsequently served three churches as a minister in the Swindon area. Of course, that meant that I was involved in the familiar rituals of church life, but I also found that I was often approached by individuals and families who were not ‘church’ people, and felt that religion was not for them, but who nonetheless sought a deeper meaning, particularly when they faced critical milestones in their lives. I cherished this creative extension to my ministry, which led me, several years later, to do a PhD exploring rites of passage and contemporary rituals. Another important influence on me in my early ministry was the opportunity to be a member of the central committee of the World Council of Churches. I learnt a great deal from meeting and working ecumenically with people from a wide variety of cultures and traditions that were different from my own.
I learn all the time from walking with others, which alongside my own experience of grief has deepened my appreciation of loss and of joy, and life and love.
I took a break from the ministry when I got married and became a stepmother to a bonus son, and a mother to twins. After a short time supporting a church in Guildford as it went through a difficult time of transition, I began working for Phyllis Tuckwell, drawing on strands from my past, to develop their chaplaincy service to be relevant to all those it cares for, regardless of their faith, beliefs, or spirituality. In my free time I aspire to play the cello like Jacqueline du Pré, run like Laura Muir, and express my creativity as beautifully as Frida Kahlo!
Lucyann Ashdown - Treasurer and Membership Secretary
Lucyann has been a Spiritual Care Lead since 2014, in Essex, Dorset, and now in Devon. She spent most of her career in health care, initially as a nurse, followed by three decades as a midwife; practising as a home birth specialist, senior lecturer, clinical supervisor, as well facilitating groups for parents and professionals. She is also a mediator. Involuntary childlessness caused her to reflect deeply on the meaning and purpose of her life. In 2008 she was ordained as a minister in the Church of England. Lucyann has always been drawn to supporting people and those who support them in time of transition; whether birth, key points in life or death. She relishes the privilege of being a compassionate presence at these pivotal moments. She enjoys being alone in nature, singing, running, growing vegetables and knitting.
Lucyann is also Bishop’s Advisor for Wholeness and Healing, Salisbury Diocese, and trustee of The Guild of Health and St Raphael.
Havens Hospices, Southend on Sea
My name is Oluwamoorin Babawale, but preferably called Moorin. I am an ordained minister at my local church in Laindon, Essex. I am married and blessed with wonderful three kids.
I’m an educator/tutor, freelance media woman, singer-songwriter, community facilitator, web designer, instrumentalist, and content creator. I founded and direct my local community gospel choir. I am highly blessed to be the Spiritual Care Lead at Havens Hospices.
My chaplaincy journey started over a decade ago when I was going through multiple stillbirths & miscarriages on top of my mum that was diagnosed with multiple cancer that eventually led to her demise. All these simultaneous trials whilst I was pregnant and expecting our 1st surviving child.
These trying periods were life-changing moments.
It was comforting, reassuring, and pleasant to have the support of the hospital chaplains that handed me life jackets. This act of compassion and empathy propelled me to give back to the profession which meant a lot to me during my darkest moments.
I refer to myself as an “octopus” with many tentacles, because as a mum I have learned to multi-tasking, and juggle activities together at the same time. I am passionate about individual personal development, taking up challenges, responsibilities towards community engagements, well-being, pastoral, emotional, and spiritual care within my local community.
During the lockdown, I collected and shared food, groceries, and toiletries within my neighbourhood. I still run a local food bank from our 20-foot container in our back garden.
I counsel, support, empower and work with local charities to bring hope, comfort, smiles, confidence, and reassurance to many whom I cross paths with.
My Christian faith and music have always been important to me and often find myself supporting individuals and families who are not ‘church’ goers but sought after deeper meaning to their connection to spiritualism when they face a storm in their lives or just going through a hard day.
The community choir I started almost 10 years ago has become more of a sanctuary, and counselling cell to my members and community than the purpose intended for. Singing has always been my passion and music is my admired, powerful tool. Over the years I have worked with different not-for-profit organisations, hospitals, churches, local businesses, and people of great talents and with a strong community spirit.
I had worked with Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Goodmayes Hospital, Thurrock, and Basildon Hospital. These hospitals are all within a multi-faith setting. However, it has been a blessing and privilege to serve in my current capacity as Spiritual Care lead at Havens Hospices and UKBHC Ambassador. The positions I cherish and will continue to hold in high esteem.
In this capacity, God has used me to be a succour and a source of hope and support to my patients, staff, and families in their low times. Making unbearable moments a bit bearable and making everyday count.
Benedicto Da'Silva - Vice President
St Andrew’s Hospice, Grimsby
I am married and have two beautiful children. My background started as a youth worker in my younger days. I wanted to study Medicine so did my A-levels in Sciences. After a religious experience I had a change of direction and read Divinity at The University Of London. I then worked for Mencap as a live-in support worker and then as a YOS officer for London Borough Of Havering. I volunteered as a live-in manager for the Missionaries Of Charity for five years in one of their homeless hostels in London. Working alongside and supporting the MC sisters, I gained a deeper understanding into the life and spirituality of St Teresa of Calcutta (their foundress) – a person I always wanted to meet, but never got the chance. When we moved to Grimsby I worked for the YMCA for a couple of years supporting residents there, until a job came up at the hospice where I now work as the Spiritual Care Lead and Chaplain, and my parish priest among others thought I would be good at it and gently suggested I applied. I have worked here at St Andrews Hospice for over three years now. My areas of interest are religious pluralism, supporting the marginalised and forgotten, and promoting the relevance of spiritual care and the work we do. I work both in the hospice and the community with adults and children. I am also the founder and chair of the NE Lincolnshire Chaplaincy Forum where chaplains from various organisations support each other, and chair of the NE Lincolnshire Inter-Belief Forum.
Carol Gully - Secretary
Rowans Hospice, Waterlooville
I am Spiritual Care Chaplain at Rowans Hospice near Portsmouth. Before starting this role in 2013, I was part of the chaplaincy team at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.
My first experience of chaplaincy was being part of the chaplaincy team at the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in Greater Manchester. Originally I trained as a primary teacher, working in a variety of schools and was ordained in the Church of England in 2005.
I have a husband Paul who is also a Priest and two grown-up daughters. I am passionate about ecologically-friendly gardening – I have three wormeries! I also like to sing.
Carol Lacey - Conference Organiser
LOROS Hospice, Leicester
I am a Spiritual Care Chaplain at LOROS Hospice, Leicester and I have worked at LOROS for three years.
Previously, I worked as a parish Priest for the Church of England in the Diocese of Sheffield, for four and half years.
I have a husband Mike, who is retired but also volunteers as a driver at LOROS. We have two daughters Stephanie and Jessica, so we travel a lot to Scunthorpe and London.
Dougie Mac Hospice, Stoke-on-Trent
Hello, my name is Martin and I’ve been in spiritual healthcare for over 20 years; 14 of which in Palliative and End of Life, in both the NHS and Charitable Sectors. I’ve always worked in multi-cultural and multi-faith contexts and aim to make spiritual, pastoral and religious care equitable to all and have a particular interest in how we provide this care to people who are unable to express who they are or what their wishes might be. I’m a member of the Zen Buddhist tradition (being given the Dharma name of Doshin) and have used the insights of this to shape my work, particularly the practices of Not Knowing and Bearing Witness.
Ali Pandian - Scottish Rep
Rachel House Children’s Hospice, Kinross
I grew up in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and then St Andrews.
When I left school I lived in Thailand for a year. This was an amazing experience which opened my eyes to a completely different culture to the one I had grown up in and taught me so much about hospitality.
I always had a love of theatre, which led me to my first degree in Community Arts at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. It was in Liverpool where I met my husband and we had our children, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I worked in Women’s Aid for a number of years before feeling a call to ministry, and particularly chaplaincy, when our children were wee. This led to us moving to Scotland.
I trained as a Church of Scotland minister and was ordained to an NHS healthcare chaplaincy post in 2017, where I remained before joining CHAS (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland) in 2021 as the chaplain at Rachel House in Kinross. I was familiar with Rachel House as I spent a day a week in Rachel House during my time as a probationer minister with the Church of Scotland. I am passionate about connecting with other chaplains and finding out how we can support each other to serve well.
I live in West Lothian with my husband and our children. I feel ‘at my best’ when I balance work with swimming, running, walking by water, going to the theatre and connect with friends and family.
John Wonnacott - Northern Ireland Rep
Macmillan Unit, Antrim Hospital, NI
As a palliative care chaplain in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, N Ireland I work in three areas:
1. I am part of the multi disciplinary team in the Antrim Area Hospital’s specialist twelve-bed Macmillan Unit;
2. I also work with the specialist palliative care team in the Antrim Area Hospital ;
3. I am a resource in the Northern Trust for palliative spiritual care, be it with staff and volunteers or grass-roots community education.
I came into chaplaincy as a Methodist minister. The Methodist Church in Ireland kindly gave me permission to serve in chaplaincy, having been stationed in different circuits across the island. It is a real privilege to do what I do – with regards to chaplaincy I am particularly concerned with spiritual care and chaplaincy becoming more visible and better understood by everyone within healthcare and beyond. Outside chaplaincy I live with my wife Sandra and our three daughters who provide lots of fun and distraction, along with our dogs Sparkey and Sadie, and not forgetting Georgie the tortoise. I am happiest when cooking for others, or on a run or a walk.
Gary Windon - Website Manager
Nightingale House Hospice, Wrexham
Having spent twenty years in the computer industry I re-trained for ministry in 1998 and after ordination in the Church of England in 2000 started parish ministry in a curacy post in the West Midlands. Ecumenism has always been important to me, my home church being an Anglican/Methodist LEP. Although technically an Anglican, I have led Church of England, Church in Wales, Presbyterian Church of Wales and Methodist churches. I currently combine my hospice ministry with hospital chaplaincy, mainly with the specialist palliative care team.
My interests outside work include skydiving, motorcycles, heavy metal and hill walking – and trying to work out a way of combining them all in one weekend!
Tim Leeson - Web Editor
St Helena Hospice, Colchester
I was born in Belgium, and lived in France and the USA before settling in the UK in 1997. I was a youth worker for 18 years, and made the jump to healthcare chaplaincy during the COVID pandemic. I started as a hospital chaplain at Colchester Hospital before becoming Spiritual Care Lead at St Helena Hospice in December 2022. Like many members of the AHPCC, I divide my time between the hospice inpatient unit and doing community visits. I’m passionate about spiritual care being evidence-based, patient-led, and inclusive of all faiths and worldviews.
Outside of work, I love music, video games, comedy and spending time in nature!