On 12 July we said goodbye to our inspirational Deborah Hennessy, whose ill health led her to step down as Chair of Trustees.
After a Valedictory service at Chichester Cathedral, we were generously hosted by St Mary’s Hospital in the Almshouses’ gardens, where among other goodies, we feasted on strawberries and cream … and of course the obligatory customised cake!
As always with farewells, it was a both sad and happy. One dilemma was what gifts should mark such a special occasion – it was obvious that conventional retirement gifts would simply not do. But our team came up with a number of helpful suggestions following which we found a painting from Deborah’s beloved native South Africa.
But this was not enough – we wanted something more personal, more relevant to our work with older people, and connected to this locality. And so it was that our team, led by our chaplain LouLou Morris, designed and created a quilt, packed with images as mementos and words of love and appreciation.
One panel is marked ‘Abbas Combe’, where we started out back in January 2017, another ‘Whyke Lodge, where we now visit frequently and take weekly services; the flower is the Proteas, South Africa’s national flower, while other panels are full of symbols of hope and love, including a representation of Deborah’s sanctuary, her beach hut!
It was a farewell but not adieu. Not long after, Deborah was able to return and take a training session for us. She remains deeply interested in this ministry and labours in prayer both for us and those we seek to serve.