Sue’s career with Rennie Grove spanned an impressive 31 years. After joining the five original pioneer nurses who had formed the then Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, she progressed to become the Director of Nursing and Clinical Services before her retirement in 2019.
Sue devoted her career to promoting the type of hospice care that gave people choice around their care at the end of their lives. Her vision and leadership inspired the evolving model of “Hospice at Home” whereby 24/7 care was built upon the belief that people have the right to choose to be cared for in their homes, long before it became part of the national agenda.
Her career has touched the lives of many hundreds of local people with life-limiting illnesses, making a difference to them and their loved ones when it mattered the most.
This is part of her continuing legacy to end-of-life care in the UK.
Sue was one of the first people in the country to obtain a Master’s degree in hospice leadership. Her passion and dedication to hospice care led her to undertake teaching expeditions to places like Sierra Leone and India, meaning that her legacy of care stretches far beyond the borders of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire where her work for Rennie Grove was based.
Prior to retiring in 2019, Sue established the ‘Sue Varvel Bursary’ to provide opportunities for Rennie Grove nurses to access training and professional development.
Stewart Marks, Chief Executive at Rennie Grove Hospice Care, said:
“Sue truly was a pioneer of Hospice at Home care and her passion and dedication benefitted Rennie Grove’s services immensely during the 31 years that she worked with us. Everybody who knows Sue will miss her greatly. Not only was she an outstanding colleague, she was also a dear friend to everybody she worked with.
We are deeply saddened to hear of Sue’s death and send our most heartfelt condolences to her family. It is comforting to know that her passion for hospice care, education and development will live on in the form of the bursary that she established to allow others to learn and flourish as nurses.”
Where to next?
Projects awarded funding by The Sue Varvel Bursary.