Local Face: Sue Varvel

  |  Published: Feb 1st 1997

Sue Varvel moved to Wendover in April 1983 with her husband, Pete, and six-month old baby, Becca. They had previously lived on a noisy main road in Aylesbury and were delighted to find tranquility at last.

As they settled it confirmed their initial feeling that they did not want to leave and when they moved house, some time after the arrival of Claire, they stayed in Wendover.

Having a babe-in-arms, Sue naturally became involved in the pram service which was held at St Agnes Chapel which used to be in Dobbins Lane and after St Mary's Centre was developed Sue was one of the founding members of Noah's Ark, young families meeting there on Thursday afternoons. Sue's stint as a Sunday School teacher has just ended after 11 years. She was also involved in developing the pre-marital course which was offered to any couple booked to marry at St Mary's.

At the same time, Sue and her family became involved with Wendover Mother and Toddler (now Parent and Toddler) Club which meets in Wendover Memorial Hall on Monday afternoons, Sue was on the committee. Her children attended Wendover Memorial Hall Playschool (now Preschool) and she served on its committee for a while.

Just at the time when Sue was very busy looking after her own pre-school children and helping to improve and develop the various organisations in Wendover covering her situation, she was invited to put to use her training as a nurse in a new local project.

The lain Rennie Hospice at Home was founded in 1985 as a charity devoted to 24-hour care of the terminally ill in their own homes. lain Rennie nurses look after the patient as a whole person including supporting the family. The geographical area covered by lain Rennie nurses is rural Chilterns from Chinnor in the West; Beaconsfield and the fringes of High Wycombe in the South; Tring, Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead in the East.

Sue started lain Rennie nursing, just a few hours a week, in 1987. She was delighted to be a part of such an important community development. Since then, she has taken advantage of the very specific training offered by and through the organisation and is now one of the trainers herself. This training is available within and without the lain Rennie Hospice at Home. For example, as a free Community Service for local schools they offer a loss, and grief course. Sue teaches this part of the PSE programme at Tring School.

Since early 1996, Sue has been the named lain Rennie nurse attached to a Tring Surgery and Wendover Health Centre. Sue co-ordinates a team of 7 qualified nurses who provide the service free of charge. The service is open to anyone and referrals are made through the GP. Patients may have any type of life threatening illness and may be of any age. Children receive the specialist care of the IRHH Pepper Nurse who is a Registered Sick Children's Nurse.

As a charity, lain Rennie Hospice at Home is delighted to have been awarded Lottery money which will be used to fund extra nurses and a volunteer coordinator up to the millennium.

The lain Rennie Hospice at Home is a registered charity and there is no charge to the patient or their families for the services of the nurses. The IRHH relies very heavily on voluntary donations, gifts in lieu of flowers, covenants, recoveries from private medical insurance and fundraising activities for income. The IRHH has no expensive buildings or other overheads to maintain. Anyone who would like to help with fund raising, please contact Robert Breakwell at 93, Western Road, Tring, Herts, HP23 4BN or telephone 01442 890222, fax 01442 891276. The telephone nursing line is 01442 890444.

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