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Goodbye Carole!

The same day as the service commemorating the coming into effect of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Act 40 years

17 years of dedication to carers: Carole Cochrane

ago (see prev blog), staff of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers gathered to pay tribute to Carole Cochrane, who has just finished being Chief Executive.

It was back in 1994 that Carole became Chief Executive of a Carers’ Centre in the North-East of England and for seventeen years she has dedicated her life to improving support for carers. I do mean dedicating her life. You will see from her previous blog that even when on holiday, the needs of carers rarely strays far from her foremost thoughts.

In a goodbye speech she made the other night, she said that she has been proud to wear the badge of supporting carers. And that badge was always on because quite simply she cared about carers, their individual stories, their specific problems and how she could help them. Borne from her own experience, Carole connected with carers immediately and of all the things she had to do as a Chief Exec, she never looked happier than when speaking to carers.

Her favourite times were probably organising the week’s holiday for 1200 carers from all over the UK at Pontin’s in Blackpool. An idea of giving some carers a break in Pontin’s was turned into the most unbelievable week I have ever witnessed. Carers came from all over the UK – its most far flung corners – to enjoy a week of entertainment, fun and solidarity. I remember my first time there witnessing carers stream in expectantly and excitedly. It was Carole who turned this idea into a logistical reality.

The challenge of being Chief Executive of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers should not be underestimated: 150 Carers’ Centres to support and keep relations with; other charities to coordinate and work with; staff based across the UK to keep connected and involved; a wide range of supporters to be kept engaged and motivated; politicians to prompt and persuade; all the other innumerable things that goes along with running an organisation. And all this whilst trying to spend some time with her family at home in the North West.

We have lost a leader but keep a friend and lifelong supporter. And Carole’s greatest legacy is that while we will miss her, her leadership may not be missed. In the film Casablanca, the resistance leader Victor Laszlo responds to Nazi threats that it does not matter if they kill him because if they do there are thousands ready to stand up, take his place and lead the fight. Without being too melodramatic, the same is now true for Carole. Because of the work she has been doing since 1994, there are now thousands ready to stand up and take her place to lead the fight.

Carole, thank you.

Gordon

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March 31, 2011 - Posted by | breaks for carers, Carers movement, Social Care | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Nice post, Gordon. Carole has been a fantastic ambassador for The Trust and it’s been a pleasure to work with her.

    Comment by Jacq | April 17, 2011 | Reply


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