Life at St Mary’s Hospice — a new fascinating podcast series

For the first time in our history, St Mary’s Hospice is bringing our story to a whole new audience, with a special five-part podcast series.

Podcast Producer Nigel Thompson

Working with former BBC correspondent, Nigel Thompson, who now produces podcasts in Cumbria and Lancashire, the programmes take a look behind our doors and feature candid interviews with patients, staff, volunteers and supporters.

Val Stangoe, Chief Executive of St Mary’s Hospice, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Nigel on this exciting new series, Life at St Mary’s Hospice, which goes behind the scenes in a way we’ve never allowed anyone to before.

“Hospice care is often misunderstood and sometimes feared. Speaking about death and dying is still taboo, but we feel like we’re a core part of our community and we want people to see what happens here and understand it.

“People will often say to me that they think working in a hospice must be very sad, but that’s really not the case. Most days are filled with joy and laughter, and this is a really happy place to be. Of course, there can be sad moments, especially around the time when someone dies. But our patients and those important to them tell us time and again that they feel so much better for having had us involved in making a person’s final moments as dignified and pleasant as they can possibly be. Because of that, our staff love what they do.

“We wanted to reflect that in the name of the podcast and so Life at St Mary’s was born, to show that there is so much more to what we do than death.

“It’s so important that people know how much of a difference hospice care can make to a person’s life. We often find that people are surprised when they first visit the hospice. It’s a bustling building full of life. People make special trips to visit our public café and, once they’ve been, they come back again and again.”

Teams of dedicated staff and volunteers have been providing high quality palliative care to the people of Cumbria and Lancashire for 34 years from the Hospice’s base in Ulverston. “The ‘Life at St Mary’s Hospice’ podcast series will hopefully help us dispel some of the myths around hospice care and open our doors to people all over the world,” Val added.

During the series listeners will have the opportunity to follow different stories from people who have a connection with the hospice.

Nigel Thompson has a long experience of working in radio and more recently podcasting. He hosts the Morecambe Bay Podcast and runs a small company supporting universities and the NHS with podcast creation and PR support.

“The aim of the podcast is to break down the barriers in addressing issues around end of life and how we as a society think and talk about death,” Nigel said. “It’s also about how people who have a life limiting condition, and their families can approach using the services of hospices with a different mindset. It’s about living life well.

“We also cover the way hospice services are funded — the government covers only around a fifth of the costs of delivering the service in South Lakes and Furness, with the St Mary’s team having to work hard in the local community to bring in the rest. It is a huge challenge but one which the St Mary’s team takes on with such vigour and pride. I really hope that comes across in the series.”

The first episode of Life at St Mary’s Hospice is available now on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.