Dr Quinn's Story

Dr Brian Quinn outside Overgate Hospice
As told by his daughter, Liz Dixon
The idea of Overgate Hospice was that of my father, Dr Brian Quinn, alongside his friend and colleague, Mr Geoffrey Hyman. At the time, most people died in hospital rather than in their own home and resources for the care of people dying with advanced cancer were minimal.

In the 1970’s, inspired by pioneering work in the field and informed by their own professional experience and concern for patients with life limiting illnesses and their families, my father and Mr Hyman set out to establish a hospice in Calderdale. They spent a lot of time exploring the idea together; it was a regular topic of conversation in our home and the phone was often hot with Dad bouncing ideas around with various friends and colleagues.
It was something of a ‘leap of faith’ when they decided to look for premises. I remember Dad going to look at several properties, but in the end, rather than him finding somewhere for a hospice, the Hospice found him. A friend introduced him to Mrs Sylvia Graucob, who was looking to donate her family home to a good cause. Following this, Sylvia kindly gifted Overgate and the attached house, Hazeldene, along with five acres of gardens, to complete the mission of creating a hospice in Calderdale.

The original concept of Overgate was to provide a home from home for patients, as well as a space where relatives and friends could visit anytime they liked. It was my father’s wish that those who are terminally ill should be able to spend their days peacefully and fundamentally granted the right to die a peaceful death, and that Overgate provides a space where individuals can do so with dignity.
I’m sure if my father could see what Overgate has become he would be very proud. That’s not to say he wouldn’t have had an occasional grumble, or even said ‘no’ to some changes with which he disagreed! But as the Hospice has evolved over time, I believe the underlying philosophy remains the same, and one of the challenges for us all is to be able to preserve that and continue to provide a specialist service to the Calderdale community.

Looking to the future, I know he would be entirely supportive and excited by new ideas and developments at the Hospice - because after all, that was just what Overgate was, 40 years ago.

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