Huw praises hospice staff and local community response following fire at St Michael's Hospice

Huw Merriman visited St Michael’s Hospice yesterday to see the damage that was caused by the devastating fire three weeks ago and to hear how the Hospice is already restoring their services.

Huw was shown around the main hospice building, which is currently out of use, by Chief Executive, Celia Pyke-Lees, and Chairman, Irene Dibben. He saw the full extent of the fire damage which has affected the entire main building. Although the fire was contained within the ground floor, the smoke and soot damage means that all the residents’ rooms and hospice offices will need specialist cleaning and repairs.

Celia and Irene told Huw that the hospice staff have been wonderful and are all gradually getting back into their roles supporting the hospice from temporary accommodation within the grounds. The Day Centre has already resumed its full range of activities.

St Michael’s Hospice is well-supported by people in Hastings and Rother but Huw heard that the response from the local community had been over-whelming. In the days following the fire people were turning up with towels, bedding and other items that the Hospice needed.

Speaking at the Hospice, Huw said “The fire at St Michael’s Hospice was a terrible ordeal for staff and patients on that night. The ground floor is in a dreadful state and I have nothing but praise for the staff and emergency services for their bravery in evacuating patients so quickly from the building.

 “St Michael’s Hospice is a resilient and dedicated organisation and they are already restoring their outpatient services using whatever equipment they can get hold of ensure that patients and their families receive the support they need. Their residents are being looked after by hospice staff at the Conquest Hospital and local care homes who responded to the emergency by offering beds in the middle of the night.”

 “The specialist cleaning has already started but there is much work to be done.  The communities of Hastings and Rother have been absolutely tremendous in supporting the hospice in the immediate aftermath of the fire and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so. I will support the hospice in every way that I can.”