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Remembering Ben Alcock, Hospice Chaplain

Ben Alcock, one of our Hospice chaplains, sadly died in September, after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Here, Jane Pantony, Head of the Hospice’s Counselling and Support Service, reflects on her popular colleague and the difference he made to the lives of so many people here at Hospice in the Weald.

Ben and his family

“Ben in his CV, when he applied for the role of Chaplain described himself as, ‘a passionate preacher with strong pastoral gifts’, and for those of us who had the privilege of working with him, his CV was accurate!

Ben worked for over six years as a local preacher in Canterbury (where he lived), and East Kent, he also worked as a freelance writer for BBC radio and for theatres including the Royal Court and the National Theatre. Ben also managed some uncredited joke writing for scripts on various panel shows. I found Ben deeply committed to his calling, warm and approachable, compassionate and funny.

Ben was in his first year with us here at the Hospice in the Weald when he was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. This was at the beginning of the summer this year (2022), and it of course came as a huge shock to everyone.

A devoted father and husband, Ben leaves Hannah his wife and two sons, Gabe and Teddy as a testament and legacy to who he was. There was a joy in him when he spoke about his family. Members of the Hospice community want his family to know how much he was loved and will be missed.

Staff and volunteers really appreciated and valued Ben’s dedication to his work and there are lots of wonderful memories for those of us who worked with him, including leading a ceremony for a patient at Cottage Hospice. Ben was able to help the couple express their love for each other in a meaningful way, by conducting a ‘lovely and personal ceremony for them and their family’. Ben made a difference in all that he did, and a huge difference for this couple in particular.

Ben was full of enthusiasm and curiosity, and it was contagious. He led by example. “