High-flyer Judy takes on hospice role at St Kentigern

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St Kentigern Hospice, St Asaph, New trustee Judy Owen with retired trustee David Thomas.

 

A hospice charity that has appointed a high-flying finance expert as their new treasurer.

Judy Owen, 61, has just started her new role at the St Kentigern Hospice in St Asaph which needs to raise £1.4 million a year to keep going.

She previously headed up top flight finance teams with multi-national businesses, Pilkingtons and Siemens, for whom she regularly travelled to the USA.

Judy has taken over from David Thomas, 60, who is standing down as St Kentigern Hospice treasurer after 20 years, but will continue as a trustee for the rest of 2016.

St Kentigern is an eight-bed in patient hospice with day care facilities and provides unparalleled palliative care for those with life-threatening and terminal illness.

Judy who lives with husband Gary, in St Asaph, said: “David has done a fantastic job and he has been a huge support to me over the last couple of weeks, helping me as I settle in. I’m delighted to use my skills to put something back into the community where I live.

“I’m honoured that I will be contributing to an organisation which provides such an invaluable service. I think many people still do not realise the extent of what is done here. Unless they have a family member or friend involved with the hospice they may have not actually visited.

“I myself had never walked through the doors until I was interviewed for the treasurer’s position. It’s only since then that I have come to realise what a truly inspiring and friendly place St Kentigern Hospice is.”

Judy had not planned to go back into finance on retiring in November 2015 after 42 years in the business. She had even toyed with the idea of doing something completely different, such as working with animals.

But when the St Kentigern Hospice role came up, coinciding with her retirement, she explained: “With my extensive background in the financial sector and with the hospice being right on my doorstep, it seemed like it was just made for me. I did not hesitate for one moment when asked if I would like to be considered for the role. I’m very proud at being given the opportunity to help an organisation which does so much for the community.”

Over the last three years she made frequent trans-Atlantic crossings to Los Angeles, USA, after being given responsibility for Siemens LA finance department, overseeing its alignment with the company’s Llanberis site in North Wales.

Earlier in her career she worked for Pilkingtons, St Asaph – now Qioptiq – which she joined as a trainee accountant in 1973, qualifying in 1979. During the following 20 years she rose through the ranks to become Site Accountant.

She left in 1999 to join Euro DPC medical diagnostics company in Llanberis, the European manufacturing location for the DPC group whose parent company was in Los Angeles. It was eventually taken over by Siemens.

She spent her early childhood in southern England before her family moved to North Wales when she was aged 13. She attended Denbigh High School.

Judy has lived in St Asaph for more than 30 years and is mum to two grown up sons, Michael and Christopher.

Her appointment as treasurer also involves her becoming a St Kentigern Hospice trustee.

She said: “I’m greatly looking forward to helping the hospice progress over the next few years. It holds a very special place in the hearts of the community, which always goes the extra mile to help with fundraising activities, whether it be through personal donations, organising charity events or bequeathing legacies.”

David said the hospice relies on the local community for 80 per cent of its funding.

He said: “Without the contribution of the surrounding population the hospice would not exist. I was appointed treasurer in 1995 just after the Day Care Centre first opened, but prior to that the community had undertaken a marathon 10 year fundraising effort bringing in more than £400,000 to see their dream of opening a local hospice become a reality.”

It was opened in a completely refurbished section of what was formerly the St Asaph Hospital building.

David grew up in Rhyl but he and wife, Margaret now live in Rhuddlan. They have a grown up daughter, Jennie.

A chartered accountant he brought with him a wealth of experience on joining the St Kentigern team. After graduating in economics at Manchester University he worked for international accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) in Manchester. He eventually returned to North Wales, working for Sage and Company accountants from 1981 until 2009.

He said: “During my time as treasurer I have seen people undertake all sorts of fundraising activities from coffee mornings to jumping out of aeroplanes and walking along the Great Wall of China. The time and energy they freely put in is tremendous. My job has simply been to count the pennies but the community has been responsible for making sure those pennies came in.”

His own personal favourite event is the 5-8am annual Dawn Walk, a six mile sponsored early morning walk to the tune of local birdsong, which over last five years has raised more than £62,000 in sponsorship money. This year’s walk will start from St Asaph Cathedral on July 2. For details of this and other hospice fundraising events visit www.stkentigernhospice.org.uk