Pilgrims Hospice boss Steve Auty to leave after closure abandoned

Steve Auty
Image caption Steve Auty will leave Pilgrims Hospices at the end of June, the trustees said

The boss of a charity which abandoned plans to close inpatient beds at a Kent hospice after a public outcry is to step down at the end of the month.

Pilgrims Hospices said its chief executive Steve Auty felt it was time to hand over leadership for the next phase of development.

A petition opposing plans to close its inpatient ward in Canterbury was signed by 18,000 people.

The chairman and board of trustees said it wished Mr Auty well for the future.

Care at home

The charity, which receives 75% of its funding from the community and also has hospices in Ashford and Margate, has an annual £1m deficit.

The Canterbury building was said to be no longer fit for purpose, and hospice care was to be offered instead in the homes of patients and in hospitals.

A Facebook page set up by campaigners against the proposals attracted 13,000 "likes".

The plans were abandoned last week.

'Proud and privileged'

The charity said that during Mr Auty's nine years in the post it had increased funding from £7m to £11m a year, doubled the number of hospice shops and received an increase in referrals from 1,600 a year to 2,300.

"Steve would like to give his heartfelt thanks to all of the staff, volunteers and supporters whose hard work and generosity have enabled all of this to happen," it said.

"He is proud and privileged to have led Pilgrims and remains passionate about the need for hospice care to be widely available to the people of east Kent."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The hospice in Canterbury is the oldest of three Pilgrims hospice buildings

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