Martyn Callaghan, hospice executive

Martyn Callaghan
Martyn Callaghan
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Martyn Callaghan, who has died on holiday in Spain after a short illness, was chief executive of St Leonard’s Hospice in York.

A powerful character in the hospice movement, he was also a passionate advocate for end-of-life care and held in high regard by his peers.

“He was a one-off,” said David Dickson, chairman of the St Leonard’s board of trustees. “He exuded kindness and generosity of his time, expertise and insight.

“What he did for St Leonard’s Hospice, and the wider hospice movement, was done with incredible modesty and humour.”

He had run the York institution for 15 years, having joined the hospice movement at St Catherine’s in Scarborough and then Barnsley, after an earlier career in education.

His innovations at St Leonard’s included a service called Hospice@Home, in which specialist palliative care was taken into the community. He also oversaw a move from traditional day care to a range of services responsive to the needs of individual patients and their families.

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.”

A private family funeral has taken place.