1991 – Dr Stephen Kirkham left Pilgrims Hospice in Canterbury, where he had been Medical Director for ten years, to come to Dorset to set up the Palliative Care Service in Poole. He was lead clinician at Forest Holme Hospice until his retirement in 2012.

1993 – Building work began for Forest Holme Hospice.


Entertainer Roy Castle OBE laid the foundation stone of the building but sadly died of cancer before the Hospice was officially opened.

Forest Holme was funded by the local community through The Macmillan Cancer Trust & Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund.

1994 – Friends of Forest Holme as it was known then, was set up to raise funds for the new specialist palliative care unit.

1995 – Forest Holme Hospice was officially opened by the Lady Romsey on 9th January 1995.

1995 – The Counselling Service began.  The service provides confidential support and counselling for individuals, couples, children, young people and families.

1997 – A palliative care education programme began at Forest Holme which was aimed at local GPs and community nursing staff.

2002 – Forest Holme Hospice Charity launched the ‘Light up a Life’ appeal whereby supporters dedicate a star on the hospice Christmas tree in memory of their loved ones.

2003 – The Volunteer Bereavement Support Service began. This is a confidential listening service provided by a team of trained and supervised volunteers who see people in their own home.

2006 – The Hospice’s second Consultant, Saskie Dorman was appointed in October 2006.

2006 – Forest Holme Hospice Charity funds a Therapist to provide complementary therapies to patients in Forest Holme and in Poole Hospital.

Complementary therapies can help to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with cancer or other serious illness.

2008 – The new relatives’ lounge is officially opened by Fiona Castle following a successful grant application from the King’s Fund.


2009 – A significant gift left by Jean Mary Coldwell in her will funds the refurbishment of the hospice training and meeting room.

The Coldwell legacy became extremely significant in 2012 as it would financially enable Forest Holme Hospice to continue to provide its vital services to the local community.

2011 – Valerie Flude married her second husband John after meeting at a Bereavement Support Group organised by Forest Holme Hospice.

The monthly pop-in service is led by nurses and enables bereaved relatives the opportunity to chat to people who are going through a similar experience informally over a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

2011 – Proving age is just a number, 89 year old Ada Newman completed a tandem skydive which raised £2,000 for Forest Holme Hospice Charity in memory of her late husband, who had been cared for at the hospice.

2011 – The East Dorset Palliative Care Review considered a possible reconfiguration of services, including the closure of Forest Holme. The Trustees of Forest Holme Hospice Charity agreed to commit £1.5 million over 3 years to ensure the future of Forest Holme.

2012 – Dr Amy Pharaoh and Dr Beverley Lee joined the team at Forest Holme as Consultants in Palliative Medicine.

2012 – Harry Redknapp officially opened Forest Holme Hospice Charity’s first shop.2013

2013 – Following an integration of services, the Community Specialist Palliative Care team based at Forest Holme expanded to 7 nurses covering Poole, Wimborne and the Isle of Purbeck.

The specialist nurses based at Forest Holme Hospice support patients in their own home, in nursing homes or care homes.

2014 – Forest Holme is officially reopened following a £1million refurbishment.

An anonymous legacy combined with a grant from Hospice UK and the Department of Health enabled the charity to fund an extension to increase capacity, and move in-patient services from the first floor to the ground floor, so that every bed had direct access to outdoor space.

2015 – Charitable donations fund a Thor Laser for the Lymphoedema team at Forest Holme.

The Thor Laser enhances the treatment of patients by using LED light therapy to treat large areas of fluid retention in the body.

2015 – Dr Stephen Kirkham, Chair of Trustees at Forest Holme Hospice Charity, was awarded the Anne Norfolk Lifetime Achievement Award by Hospice UK.

2015 – The Therapeutic Bereavement Group began and offered individuals the opportunity to meet with other bereaved people who may be experiencing similar loss.

2016 – A moving display of 1,000 handcrafted sunflowers went on display in Poole Park.

Each of the sunflowers represented the life of a person cared for by Forest Holme Hospice each year.

2016 – Poole Hospital was chosen as one of 10 hospitals to take part in the Building on the Best service improvement partnership.

The partnership aims to improve end of life care in acute hospitals and Forest Holme Hospice Charity funds its Transformation Manager.

2016 – AFC Bournemouth Manager, Eddie Howe visited staff, patients and their families at the hospice.

Our story continues to grow…..

The future

“I donate monthly to the charity so that families in the future will receive the same amazing care that my mum had whilst she was a patient at the hospice. I don’t know what we would have done if Forest Holme didn’t exist.” Anon

Our charity needs you now more than ever before.