A family grieves, they have lost a wife, a mum, a sister, an aunt, a friend.
And Cransley Hospice grieves too, for it has lost its first matron, Irene Fareed, my friend and colleague.
Above all it is Irene’s family who we are saddened for, but we are sad in our own way too.
You who read this will probably not know her name and certainly not know the part she played in making Cransley Hospice a reality so that it could become what it is today.
Irene was the junior sister on Cransley Ward at St Mary’s Hospital, a small ward that cared for long-stay elderly patients.
This ward offered me two beds to care for dying patients in 1993. Two beds that became four and then 10.
A nursing team led and encouraged by Irene who simply worked their socks off to care for these patients and their families.
They knew how much they didn’t know so they learned and studied so they could become skilled hospice nurses.
Skilled they became but it was more than that, they really cared.
Cared more than they should, some would say but it was their caring that has made all the difference. And who led and guided them? Irene Fareed.
It was Irene who transferred the hospice to its present site and who has helped make it what it is today for the thousands of patients and their families who have been cared for.
Like many patients Irene had hoped to be cared for at home but her symptoms became too complex, too difficult for that to be, so she came to her “second home”, the hospice that she helped create.
There are many people whose work goes unnoticed, who get on with it and do something good for all of us.
Irene is one of those people. It is a loss beyond measure to Ameen, her husband, and her family and a huge loss for our community too. I thank God for her.
Irene’s funeral will be at midday on October 10, at St Columba’s Church in Corby.