VIDEO: Douglas Macmillan Hospice at 40- 'You can see the difference hospice makes'
LINDA Walker was newly-married and aged just 20 when she applied for the job of the newly-created Douglas Macmillan Home's first cook.
She started work in the October of 1972 – three months before the home admitted its first in-patients.
Her first task was to equip the kitchen from scratch and she recalls driving around to local companies in a van to collect crockery and other equipment.
Linda said: "I can't get my head around how things have changed from when the home, as it was first opened. The site now is so big.
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"I remember the staff dining room being so small that you could only just fit a table in it.
"There were two of us, the assistant cook Sheila and I. We alternated shifts and worked together to cover lunchtimes when it was busier."
Linda, who lives in Loggerheads with her husband John, said: "Looking back now I believe it was fate that I came to work here because my mother went on to be diagnosed with cancer and, although she initially recovered, she still died from cancer in the end.
"A few years ago a close friend of mine sadly needed the help of the hospice. When I was visiting her I was delighted to see that the care, love and support was just as it was when I worked here.
"My family and friends were actually quite concerned when I took the job because they knew exactly what the Douglas Macmillan Home was all about.
"However, although there was always sadness at the home it was never a sad place to be or to work."
KAY Williams, a 52-year-old from Trentham, has worked a the hospice for 35 years. The senior healthcare support worker is based in the In-patient Unit and her association withe hospice began when she was just a teenager.
She said: "When the home first opened I was 13-years-old and my mum and dad lived on the estate. I used to come in as a volunteer and make the patients drinks.
"I always knew I wanted to go into nursing but I hadn't thought of what kind but being in the Douglas Macmillan Home – as it was known then – made my mind up that this was what I wanted to do.
"Once I left school I went on to college I got accepted to do my training in the Navy, in the meantime I came to the Dougie Mac and never left because I enjoyed my job here.
"When the patients come in it's a great relief for them – hospitals can be very busy but here they can find peace and quiet. They've go the beautiful views out over the countryside.
"I've also experienced the other side of the hospice. Just over 12-months-ago we lost my father-in-law here and I always knew it was a valuable service but being on the other side you really see how much it means to people having the support there.
"The support for the family - as well as the patient - is invaluable and we can't thank them enough as a family so that makes me feel even more proud of the service that we give.
"Sometimes patients who come here for respite look forward to coming back because we try to make it as much as possible a holiday for them as well as the relatives. You can see the difference it makes to relatives and the patients."