'A far more enduring way to remember her'
A Baptist minister whose wife died from cancer last year is creating a fund in her name that will support oncology nurses
Richard Littledale and his family have launched the Fiona Fund to provide grants to nurses who have demonstrated a personal commitment to education and developing their skills.
Richard, minister of Newbury Baptist Church, explained that Fiona spent all her working life as an information manager, the final ten years working as Faculty Liaison Librarian for the St George's Medical School. During her time there she trained hundreds of health professionals to access relevant, peer-reviewed and reliable information.
Despite her failing health during seven years of cancer care, she devoted herself to encouraging them in continuing professional development - seeking to go further and learn more in pursuit of excellence.
The fund will continue this legacy. Each year the Fiona Littledale Award is to be given to an Oncology nurse who has demonstrated their personal commitment to developing their skills and understanding of the field. The award, presented at the annual Patient Experience Network (PEN) awards, will enable them to undertake further training during the year of the award at no cost to themselves.
In a blog post, Richard explained that Fiona had been recently described as someone ‘who dedicated her life to empowering others to be the best that they could be’.
‘This was never more true than when working as a healthcare librarian at St George’s University Library,’ he wrote. ‘In her last years, when hospital visits became both more frequent and more intrusive, it would give her the most tremendous lift to encounter some of ‘her’ students, who had passed through her hands whilst studying for their profession.
‘Training and knowledge were as much weapons against cancer as hypodermics and scalpels, so far as Fiona was concerned.’
He added that Fiona loved the sea, and on their many visits they would often pass benches placed there in memory of a loved one. However, she had strong views on these benches, Richard wrote.
‘Don’t have a bench with my name’, she said ‘I don’t want people sitting on me’. True to that spirit, the Fiona Fund has found a far more enduring way to remember her.’
Each year the recipient will write a blog post on their training experience, and will be offered the opportunity to host the Fiona Fund Twitter account.
‘We hope these wonderful oncology nurses will find a bench once in a while for a well-earned sit down, but we also hope the Fiona Fund will help them on their way,’ Richard continued.
‘I always referred to Fiona as my 'bravest and best'. Hopefully, this Fund will enable others to do their best in a way which would have made her proud.’