Bucks hospice nurse named as finalist  for ‘community heroes’ competition

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A hospice worker in Bucks has been named as one of the finalists for a 'community heroes' award showcasing key workers and others who go above and beyond to help others.

Francesca Lennon, 35, is a former pediatric nurse who now works at Chenies in Buckinghamshire.

The event has been organised by Big Motoring World which is providing a £1,000 fuel voucher to the winner and a £500 giveaway to the first runner-up.

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Across the country people were encouraged to put forward individuals who serve their communities.

Francesca cycled to every hospice in the UKFrancesca cycled to every hospice in the UK
Francesca cycled to every hospice in the UK

The giveaway idea was inspired by Big Motoring World’s group CEO, Peter Waddell, who was sleeping rough on the streets for many years before building his business for more than three decades.

His first-hand experience of how difficult life can be has led him to recognise the importance of giving back and helping others when possible.

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More than 200 nominations were received during July and whittled down to five.

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Francesca, spent nine years working as a children’s nurse in the NHS at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and University College London Hospitals, before moving over to the children’s hospice sector.

She said that she was ‘amazed’ to learn that children’s hospices, which provide such vital care, rely on approximately 83% charity funding to do their work.

Working for Rennie Grove Hospice Care and Helen House Children’s Hospice she became even more aware of how important this work was, especially in her role of caring for children at home, and she was determined to be a voice for families caring for a seriously ill child.

Inspired by a talk about climbing Everest by Ben Fogle she decided to create her own version of this massive physical challenge - cycling around every children’s hospice in the UK. This was made even more of ‘an Everest’ by the fact she didn’t have a bike and wasn’t an experienced cyclist.

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She said: “Arriving at each children’s hospice, it is such a privilege to see them and hear about the work they do to make a difference to seriously ill children and families, and they have been so supportive of my challenge.

"It would mean so much to win this fuel voucher - it’s recognition of the work children’s hospices do and the seriously ill children and families they support which is the absolute focus of why I am doing this. Fuel has been a huge cost for our challenge as the support vehicle has also needed to travel around the UK. I have also taken unpaid time from working to do the challenge and I am using all my savings to fund the trip, so winning the fuel giveaway would help so much and mean a lot.”

The other four competition finalists are:

Deepa Chauhan of Burnt Oak Food Bank in London Hana Williams, a Trainee Pediatric Oncology Nurse at Great Ormond Street, from East Sussex Steven Stuart of Friends of Essex and London Homeless in Purfleet Danielle Mceachern, 30, a Pediatric Nurse from Peterborough

Voting is open now and closes on 15 August, an overall winner and runner-up will be announced on 17 August.

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