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About us

St. Clare's Hospice is a local independent charity, providing specialist palliative care to adults who live South of the Tyne.

Since 1987, St. Clare’s Hospice has been providing care to the local community. Based in Jarrow, in purpose-built facilities we offer specialist palliative care for adults who live south of the Tyne. We provide a range of flexible services to patients and their families by following a holistic approach that aims to address not just the physical symptoms, but also spiritual and emotional needs too.

Avril Robinson

Chief Executive Officer


As CEO Avril leads a small Senior Management Team that are responsible for managing all aspects of the Charity’s activities including clinical services and fundraising.

Michelle Ball

Physiotherapy Specialist


Since 2010, Michelle has worked as the Specialist Palliative Care Physiotherapist at St. Clare’s Hospice, offering a range of services to those In-Patients, Out-Patients and Day Care patients who have a life limiting illness. The aim of physiotherapy is to provide patients with a sense of control over their lives helping them to manage change or loss regardless of diagnosis or prognosis. Michelle offers a range of treatments, physical activities and exercises to help patients maximise potential in movement, functional ability and independence, and gain relief from distressing symptoms.

Vicky Bracey

Clinical Nurse Manager


Vicky has been a registered nurse since 1989 with a background of elderly care, palliative care and specialist palliative care. Vicky started working for St. Clare’s in 2001 and her role is the organisational management of the clinical services. This includes the In-Patient and Day Care Units, Lymphoedema and Physio services, Bereavement Counselling, Befriending, Complementary Therapies and Chaplaincy. Vicky is the Registered Manager for St. Clare’s, thereby ensuring that the Hospice meets all of the CQC regulated activities.

Sandra Carman

In-Patient Unit Sister


Sandra has worked at St Clare’s Hospice for over 8 years and previous to that she worked in respiratory medicine. Sandra's role includes co-ordinating the In-Patient team and working closely with the medical team to ensure patients and their families receive the care and support they need.

Sian Harper

Retail Manager


Sian has a strong background in retail having worked for a large national company for many years. Working alongside volunteers to drive and improve the standards of the retail stores while also raising awareness and funds for St Clare's is her main driving force. Having the support from the public is very important to both Sian and the wider retail team.

Vanessa Middleton

Fundraising Manager


Vanessa has worked at St. Clare's since 2010, having previously worked for other charities in fundraising roles. She is a full member of the Institute of Fundraising. Vanessa works as part of St. Clare's Senior Management Team and is responsible for five of the charities income streams; Donations, In-Memory, Lottery, Legacy and Fundraising.

Jacki Richardson

Within her role as Day Care Sister, Jacki works closely with palliative patients, some with complex problems, which may include advanced pain and symptom management, spiritual, psychological and emotional aspects of care. Working closely with the In-Patient Unit doctor's, Jacki is responsible for the assessment, development, implementation and evaluation of care plans. St. Clare’s Day Unit is fully family focused working in partnership with all carers to improve on quality and standards of care.

Walter Armstrong MBE


Walter was born in Jarrow where he still lives today and educated at the University College of London. Walter had a successful career as a Solicitor and was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 1995. St. Clare's has been a key part of Walter's life for over 20 years and in addition to being a trustee, he is the promoter of our Hospice Lottery.

Enid Apsey


Enid Apsey worked in administration - mainly in an industrial office before marrying Ron and having three sons. She joined St Clare's in 1992 when the Hospice was still at Westoe Village, and was seconded to Macmillan to raise over £1M for a purpose built Hospice at Primrose Hill. Since retirement she has been a member of the Board - now as Chairman. She serves on the Financial and Organisational Governance Committee as well as the Clinical Governance and Quality Assurance Committee.Enid also gets involved from time to time in fundraising events she helps to organise.

Carol Singleton - Queen's Nurse


Carol started her nursing career in 1976 at Leeds General Infirmary where she quickly realised that the place she wanted to work was in the community and after qualifying and gaining some hospital experience, she began a career as a District Nursing Sister in London, Bradford and Halifax. Carol's lifetime interest in palliative and end of life care began at this time and has continued to expand, culminating in her Trustee position at St. Clare’s in 2014. Carol is also a qualified aromatherapist and has used these skills as a volunteer at the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford and Overgate Hospice in Elland near Halifax. Carol is proud to have been made a Trustee at St. Clare’s and looks forward to supporting the patients, volunteers,staff and other Trustees by sharing her experience in nursing, clinical governance, quality and audit.

Susan Clouston


Susan is a qualified secretary with a background in Finance and Retail and during her career worked at Plessey Telecommunications in South Shields. In addition to her working life, Susan was a Youth Club Leader for a number of years and has a certificate in Bereavement Counselling. Susan has been a part of St. Clare's for over 20 years; after initially coming for treatment, she went on to become a volunteer and continues to support our fundraising efforts.

Alan Forster

Honorary Treasurer

Kathryn Foley


Elaine Kilgannon MBE


Elaine joined the Board of Trustees in 2012 with 30+ years of NHS experience. She worked in South Tyneside NHS Trust from January 1997, initially as a dietitian and from 2001 until her retirement in 2013 was the Cancer Services Manager - hence the close attachment to the work of St Clare’s Hospice. Elaine currently works part time as a development manager for Macmillan Cancer Support. In 2006 Elaine was awarded an MBE for services to the NHS. Elaine sits on the Clinical Governance committee.

Wayham Moran


Samantha Pritchard


Janet Ridley


Janet has worked as a Senior Manager / Internal Consultant and has a wide range of skills & experience in Operational Management, Work Management Principles, Cost Efficiency Projects, Training, Business Integration/Mergers, Work State Recovery and Service Improvement Programmes. Currently working as a self employed Business Consultant, Janet brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Board.