Statement from the Hospice - Martyn Callaghan
We are deeply saddened to share the news of the death of our Chief Executive, Martyn Callaghan, at the end of June after a short illness whilst on holiday in Spain.
Posted Jul 25

Statement from the Hospice - Martyn Callaghan

We are deeply saddened to share the news of the death of our Chief Executive, Martyn Callaghan, at the end of June after a short illness whilst on holiday in Spain.
Martyn will be hugely missed by the trustees, staff and volunteers here at St Leonard’s Hospice, and everyone who has had the privilege of working with him throughout his career. Martyn worked in education and then worked within the hospice movement, including at St Catherine’s Hospice in Scarborough, Barnsley Hospice and St Leonard’s Hospice in York.
He made a lasting impression on the people he met, both personally and professionally, and will be remembered for his sense of integrity, warm empathetic personality, and his great sense of humour.
He was dedicated to a vision of improving end-of-life care, and access to it, for everyone. During his 15 years of leadership at St Leonard’s, the Hospice introduced its Hospice@Home service enabling us to take specialist palliative care into the community. There was also a transition from a traditional day care model to the Sunflower Centre, which offers a range of services that are more flexible and responsive to the individual needs of patients, as well their families and carers. The Outstanding CQC rating awarded also demonstrates the commitment to care that the Hospice is so proud and well known for.
His death is a great loss to St Leonard’s, the local community here in North Yorkshire and hospices across the country.
David Dickson, Chair of the Board of Trustees at St Leonard’s Hospice, said: “Martyn was a one-off. He exuded kindness and generosity of his time, expertise and insight, and will be sorely missed by so many. What he did for St Leonard’s Hospice, and the wider hospice movement, was done with incredible modesty and humour.
Martyn was dedicated to providing outstanding end-of-life care for our patients and their families and would wish this to continue.
Naturally our thoughts here at St Leonard’s remain with his family, who wish to have their privacy respected.”
Martyn’s death has impacted on our wider community where he was held in in the highest esteem, attested by the abundance of tributes we have received.
Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said: “Martyn was a powerful character in the hospice movement. From his first role at St Catherine’s in Scarborough then at Barnsley Hospice and finally St Leonard’s Hospice, his passion and commitment for hospice care was apparent in everything he did. He challenged and provoked us and this willingness to be involved and play an active part, as well as sharing his views and supporting those around him, played a pivotal part in evolving and driving forward hospice care locally and nationally. He will be sorely missed by us all.”
Jenny Brandom, NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Deputy Chief Nurse, said: “Everyone at the CCG was saddened to learn of the passing of Martyn Callaghan who, in his 15 years as Chief Executive at St Leonard’s Hospice, worked tirelessly to improve the quality of end-of-life care in the local area.
“He was a true advocate for end-of-life services across the Vale of York, but his influence in this area of healthcare was also felt regionally and nationally.
“He will be missed not only as an important member of the York healthcare community but also as a friend of the CCGs. Our thoughts go out to Martyn’s loved ones during what is undoubtedly a very difficult time for them all.”
Susan Symington, Chair of the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Everyone is very sorry to hear the sad news about Martyn, who we will remember with great fondness.
“The Trust has always enjoyed a positive, open and mutually supportive relationship with St Leonard’s Hospice, and Martyn was at the very heart of that. The Trust will remember him for his professional skill, his leadership of the Hospice, and for his warm and generous spirit. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Martin Farran, Corporate Director of Health, Housing and Adults Social Care at City of York Council said: “We are sad to hear of Martyn Callaghan’s death, he will be sorely missed.
Martyn made a major contribution to the city having worked at St Leonard’s Hospice for 15 years, a place which helps so many people and their families and friends, providing invaluable support and quality care at a time when arguably people need it most. This is perhaps best illustrated by the outstanding CQC rating, and the level of goodwill towards the service from those who have used it.
Our thoughts are with Martyn’s family friends and colleagues at this sad time.”
Here at St Leonard’s Hospice we will continue the great work that was so important to Martyn and that we are so proud of, and we would like to thank those who have offered support and time during the last few difficult weeks.
A private family funeral has already taken place.