Like a lot of life-changing charities, the Ellenor Hospice at Home was launched after a personal tragedy. Now celebrating its 20th birthday, it cares for more than 500 seriously-ill people every year. TIM ASHTON reports ...

AS GRAHAM Perolls' father battled the last stages of cancer, he looked after his dad single-handedly at home.

And when Mr Perolls' mother died from a terminal illness, he was moved to found an organisation to help carers.

His dream was realised in June 1985 in a fitting tribute to his father Norman and mother Ellen.

This was through the launch of the Ellenor, named in his parents' honour, and from its humble beginnings in a small office at Livingstone Hospital, Dartford, its caring touch has reached across the borough.

As well as caring for seriously-ill children and adults, the foundation offers support for carers and families.


IT IS everyday folk who benefit from the excellent work of the Ellenor as Roger Young, 60, has discovered recently.

The maintenance engineer from Erith School, Avenue Road, Erith, plans to run the Dublin Marathon in October to raise money for the charity after his close friend Terry Brand died from cancer.

Mr Young said: "The nurses gave my friend and his wife 100 per cent support and care so I felt more than inclined to run in their name.

"I wish them a very happy birthday and congratulate them on everything they have done, everything they do and everything they will do in the future."

Altogether around 1,500 people are helped by the team of professionals and volunteers each year.

Mr Perolls said: "The Ellenor recognises dying as a normal process and for the dying person the last phase of their life is a special time for integration and reconciliation.

"It aims to provide relief from pain and other distressing physical symptoms, to integrate the psychological and spiritual aspects of care and offer a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death."

Mr Perolls was assisted in 1985 by volunteer Marjorie Bishop who, as a qualified nurse, became one of the first Ellenor nurses.

She said: "Over the years I have met so many lovely people through the Ellenor and it has been a privilege to be part of a team which brings comfort and help to those going through times of sadness."

Her husband Trevor and son David were also involved as they helped decorate the original office.

While professionals and volunteers are still based at Livingstone Hospital, most of their work is carried out at patients' homes.

They give medicinal care, social counselling and bereavement advice as well as specialist child care.

The Ellenor also lends its support to the Hospice of Hope Romania, based in Otford, Kent, after it opened the Hospice Casa Sperantei in Brasov, Romania, in 2002.

The hospice cares for the hundreds of people left ravaged and slowly dying of AIDS after the repressive rule of Nicolae Ceaucescu.

Since 1985 the Ellenor Foundation has helped thousands of people enjoy their final days and then supported their families after the inevitable has happened.

To mark the anniversary, the foundation is holding a birthday party on June 7 at Acacia Hall, High Street, Dartford.

Everyone is welcome to the event but tickets are limited so to book a space, call 01322 221315.

You can also call the number if you wish to make a donation.