History of Golden Gateway Hospice

Early Days!

During 1987 Rev. Mike Crommelin from the Methodist Church in Bethlehem visited St. Christopher’s in England and on his return inspired certain members of his congregation to start a hospice.

Margie Pistorius was excited about the idea and, she and Voilet Moore attended an information course run by Rev. Crommelin at Modderpoort, Ladybrand.

A Hospice committee was formed and the first meeting was held in the Methodist Churchhall on the 5th November 1991The birth of Golden Gateway Hospice!

At this first meeting Rev Deon Joubert was elected as Chairperson and Mrs Meg Sanderson-Smith as the secretary.

The rest of the Committee members were: Rev Ed den Blaauwen, Pastor Andre Richards, Mrs Avis Goldberg (still a Board member of Hospice), Mrs Margie Pistorius, Mrs Anna-Marie Fourie and Mrs Lucy Galloway.

History First's

The first Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on the 19th of November 1992, Rev Deon Joubert was re-elected as Chairperson.  The Hospice staff were all still working on a voluntary basis and the bank balance was growing slowly but surely.

Our first permanent Sister Penny Richards was appointed in February 1993! She was to operate within a 60km radius from Bethlehem, and was assisted by Sr. M Khetsi on a voluntary basis.  The sisters started with only 5 patients.

Golden Gateway Hospice is affiliated with HASA (Hospice Association of South Africa), which is today been called HPCA (Hospice Palliative Care Association of SA), and a membership of R200 was paid annually!  In April 1993 a permanent secretary was also appointed!

The first Fundraising Committee was formed in May 1993—due to this  effort our first R10 000 was received from Ithuba.

The first Regional meeting was held in Bethlehem in 1993, branches represented were from Bloemfontein, Kimberly, Viljoenskroon, Welkom and ourselves. It was to be know as Hospice Central Region.  Today there is still quarterly regional meetings, called HPCA Free State Regional Association existing out of 12 member  hospices!

1994-2000

1994 Started off with 22 caregivers assisting Sister Penny Richards and Sr Khetsi—18 patients were taken care of.  During March 1994 a big fundraising event took place with the premiere of the film “Free Willy”.  At the end of 1994 our offices moved from our first offices (the Anglican church flat) to the 3rd floor of the old Bethlehem Medical Centre.

During 1995 a new Secretary (Dulzie du Plooy) and Professional nurse (Sr Crafford, still with Hospice today!) were appointed.  Today Golden Gateway hospice have three full time professional nurses, and 23 home-based care workers that care for nearly 300 terminally ill patients.  This makes our Medical Department a very strong and active department with an excellent medical service to patients. 

Two of the professional nurses are trained in Palliative Care for adults and one in Palliative care for children.

At the end of 1997 Rev Brian de Villiers (still on Hospice Governance Board) was elected as Chairperson after Dr Staples retired and left Bethlehem.

Up to then Hospice was only caring for Cancer patients.  During October 1998 we received a substantial amount of money from SA Breweries which was used to train community workers from the Township to assist HIV/Aids patients.  That year ended with 30 patients being cared for, and 16 passed away.

In 2000 we bought the house in Unionstreet 13, which Golden Gateway Hospice is still operating.

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