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East Kent Pilgrims Hospice chairman Dr Richard Morey joins chief executive Steve Auty in resigning his post

By Gerry Warren

The chairman of the trustees of the Pilgrims Hospices has now joined the chief executive in resigning from the charity in the wake of the beds closure controversy.

Dr Richard Morey, who has been in the post for six years, stepped down today "to enable others to continue the work."

Chief executive Steve Auty resigned last week saying it was time to hand on the leadership baton.

Dr Richard Morley, chairman of the trustees at a meeting on the future of the Pilgrims Hospice in Canterbury

The pair came under fire after announcing the charity would be closing the 16-bed ward at the Canterbury hospice to focus more resources on palliative care in the community.

But it caused uproar among the families of patients, volunteers and fundraisers, forcing the charity to ditch the proposal.

Dr Morey, a retired GP, said the organisation needed a fresh executive and non-executive leadership to steer it through the next phase of its development.

Pilgrims Hospice, Canterbury

Today he said: “I am standing down with immediate effect to enable others to continue the important work of spreading the influence of palliative care as widely as possible, while retaining the essential essence of Pilgrims Hospice.

“Our staff and volunteers are the heart and soul of Pilgrims and I have been privileged to have worked with them as a trustee for 14 years and chairman of the board of trustees
for six years.

“Now is the time for our many valued supporters to get behind Pilgrims and enable us to maintain our high quality care, thus supporting our wonderful staff and volunteers in this important work.”

Former Pilgrims Hospice chief executive Steve Auty who stepped down.

Mr Auty, 60, who leaves the organisation at the end of the month, has been CEO for nine years. During his leadership there has been a huge growth in the care being offered by the hospices, and fundraising rose from £7 million to £11 million a year.

He and his team have also doubled the number of Pilgrims Hospice shops and taken the lottery membership to record levels.

He said: “I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the staff, volunteers and supporters whose hard work and generosity have enabled all of this to happen.

“On a personal level, I am proud and privileged to have led Pilgrims and I remain passionate about the need for hospice care to be widely available to the people of east Kent both now and in the future.”

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