International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care

International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care

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Promoting Hospice & Palliative Care Worldwide


2006; Volume 7, No 4, April



Main Index:

IAHPC's Homepage

Getting the word out

Message from the Chair & Executive Director:
Kathleen M. Foley, MD
Liliana De Lima, MHA

Article of the Month:
Dr. Ripamonti

Memorial Service for:
Dame Cicely

Book Reviews:
Roger Woodruff, MD

Traveling Scholars’ Reports:
Singapore, Cape Town

Regional Reports: Africa,
Latin America, Nigeria,
Seychelles Islands, USA


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Anne Laidlaw

Editor’s Notes:
IAHPC celebrates 10 years of publishing

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Liliana De Lima, MHA

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Memorial Service for
Dame Cicely Saunders

Cicely Saunders


A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Dame Cicely Saunders was held in Westminster Abbey, London on March 8 th, 2006.

There can be few who have been to London and not visited the Abbey, situated as it is only metres from the Thames, the Houses of Parliament and, of course, Big Ben – all poignant symbols of Britain. No more fitting place could have been chosen for what many who were there will look back on as one of the most moving services they have ever attended.

Work started on the Abbey in 1065 but was not completed till 1375, a final chapel – King Henry VII’s- being added 1503 - 1512. One of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture it has been the place of coronation of all but three monarchs of the past 1000 years, the burial place of almost all medieval monarchs, and in the central nave, the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. Either buried there or commemorated in statues, busts or plaques are the poets and painters, scientists and soldiers, explorers and pioneers whose life and work will for ever be remembered.

H M The Queen was represented by Princess Alexandra the Honorary President of St Christopher’s Hospice, the Anglican Church by the Archbishop of Canterbury and amongst the 2000 people attending could be seen many from the USA, Europe, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Israel and beyond; physicians and nurses, pastoral care workers and researchers; patients and relatives, the famous and the unknown, all touched by a remarkable woman.

Those who would like to read the tributes by Dr Robert Twycross of Oxford and Dr Sam Klagsburn of Four Winds Hospital , Katonah , NY . or be reminded of The Road to Gethsemane by William Hubuert Vanstone read in the Abbey by Barbara Monroe, CEO of St Christopher’s might care to visit .

What made the service so memorable, certainly for the writer, was the music led by the Abbey Choir, the beauty and serenity of The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams played on violin and organ, and the final part of the service – a corporate act of Rededication by all 2000 present – recalling the sufferers, the dying, the lonely, the forgotten and what Cicely showed was our mission to serve them to our own life’s end.

As the crowds poured out into the noise and bustle of London traffic suddenly the great carillon of the Abbey burst into triumphant sound as if sending us all back to our ministries of caring and compassion. Cicely would have loved it.

Derek Doyle

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