Dove House Hopsice visit never came easy, previously when thinking about emailing them or calling – I was petrified. There was an ongoing battle in my head of what would be the best approach.
I previously made some notes:

  • Don’t jump into taking photographs straight away – ease them into your project initial thoughts and thoroughly explain the reasons behind your ideas.
  • Give them photographic examples like Colin Gray, Sally Mann and Walter Schels to make sure they see that the end of life can be photographed in a beautiful way.
  • Explain that hearing people stories is important, because some could be interested in say something – wise words about life and how we should appreciate life given.
  • Tell them that I would like to create series of images around end of life and leave a positive legacy

Before the visit I was nervous, but was ready to earn their trust. At the end of the day – if they really don’t like my ideas, there is something wrong with y project and I better learn that lesson.

A bit about Dove House Hospice in Hull:

In 1979 the Societies of Beverley and Hull Friends decided to create a place where “greater provision should be made for the incurably sick in a loving atmosphere” and so the North Humberside Hospice Project was registered as a charity in May 1980. The first Hospital Support Nurse was appointed in 1983 and the day hospice began, run with the help of volunteers, at the building generously made available by the Sisters of Mercy at Endsleigh.

As the team grew, it was determined that there was a need for a bedded unit to provide the much needed services for the people of Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Unfortunately the current premises did not have the space required and so the search began to find a suitable site and the funds needed for a purpose-designed hospice.

Through the generosity of Reckitt & Coleman PLC who provided the grounds, and after many meetings, the plans for the two acre Chamberlain Road site were drawn up and work on the site began in 1987. The move from Beverley Road to the new premises on Chamberlain Road took place in May 1990, marked with sadness at leaving “an old friend” and excitement for the future.

Princess Diana Unveils PlaqueIn October 1991 the hospice opened its doors to the first bedded unit patients and on the 24th June 1992 HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, formally opened Dove House Hospice. Today the hospice is a core part of the health provision in the region, providing excellent services and support to residents of Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. We rely heavily on the help of our volunteers and the local community for their support and generosity to ensure we raise the funds required to continue the excellent work we are known for.

HULL DAILY MAIL ARCHIVE PRINCESS DIANA VISIT TO DOVE HOUSE HOSPICE ON CHAMBERLAIN ROAD ON WEDS, JUNE 24TH, 1992. She officially declared the new building open. Princess Di made this visit and was impressed by their work that she returned on a private visit in August of the same year. She is greeted by John Cumming, chairman of Dove House Hospice
Source: Dove House Hospice History

Mission Statement

The North Humberside Hospice Project Limited exists to provide a range of specialist services for people with a life-threatening illness and those who care about them, in order to maintain and enhance their quality of life.
– We will preserve the dignity of our patients and those who care about them, respecting their individuality, acting with honesty and integrity at all times;
– We will continually strive to review and improve the services we offer to ensure that they meet the changing needs of the people of North Humberside;
– We offer to share with others the knowledge and skills that are vested in our staff.

Our Values

  • We believe that the patients, and their families and friends, are at the centre of everything we do;
  • We believe we should meet the individual needs of people with life-threatening illnesses and of those who care about them. These needs may be physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological;
  • We believe we should provide a unique and special range of services which are equally available to all residents of North Humberside;
  • We recognise that the service is provided by a wide range of people, all of whose contributions are important and valued;
  • We recognise that all our people, both paid and unpaid, can only give of their best when they are supported in their work;
  • We recognise the need to make the best possible use of all our resources, managing them and operating in a professional, caring and efficient way;
  • We believe we should provide an environment in which feelings may be openly expressed, and acknowledged with sensitivity.
Source: Dove House Hospice Vision and Values

The services they provide:

Occupational Therapy

Our Occupational Therapists help the patient with difficulties that affect the ability to do everyday tasks.

Consultant Appointments

Here at Dove House Hospice we offer our patients the chance to have one-to-one appointments with our leading consultant who can advise patients on specific problems relating to their illness.

Family Support

The Family Support Team helps our patients and their loved ones with the non-medical issues that sometimes run alongside life-limiting illnesses.

Complementary Therapies

The benefits of Complementary Therapies include creating sensations of relaxation and calm, enhance d feelings of wellbeing.

Music Therapy

Music Therapy is used at Dove House Hospice to help our patients with both their symptoms and pain as well as with emotional issues.

Outpatient Clinics

We have three clinics available offering one-to-one appointments to help with life-limiting illnesses.

Patrington Haven

Patrington Haven Holiday Park is set in beautiful, tranquil countryside and is an ideal location for all age groups.


Physiotherapy is used here at Dove House Hospice to help patients improve their physical abilities and promote independence using a variety of different treatments.

Timber Lodge

Dove House has taken advantage of a marvellous opportunity to purchase one of the Timber Lodges on Wycliffe Park.

Wilberforce Unit

The Wilberforce Unit offers 24-hour care and aims to help with symptom management.

Amy Johnson Unit

People come to the Amy Johnson Unit (AJU) specifically for the therapies and treatments.

Hornsea Day Care

Our new Day Care service supports patients who have been diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses, and their families in Hornsea and the surrounding area and is provide in partnership with Humber NHS Foundation Trust and Hornsea Cottage Hospital League of Friends.

Source: Dove House Hospice Services

I arrived early [as usual] and was greeted  by Tania Wilson, Patient and Community Engagement Leader and Linda who also works in the marketing department.

They both were smiley and lovely ladies, interested in my project.
In fact, they were two people who completely understood me since I started the project and their response really surprised me in the best possible way.

Linda particularly loved the idea of photographing funerals, wakes and end of life. Sorry Linda, but I have tell the story about you and your ways of celebrating cats lives. Linda has picked up a habit of photographing her cats that pass away in a ceremonial way, arranging surroundings beautifully and capturing the last moment. It started when her son at young age asked if they can photograph their cat, who sadly passed away. Linda placed the cats body on to a blanket and her son brought some flowers and decors, arranged them and they both took a picture. The picture celebrates great life the cat lived, chasing mice and being part of the family.

Through out the story I could not get the smile off my face. It was beautiful and made me realise that there will be people like Linda, who will know exactly why I am into photographing “End Of Life”.

I told the story about my project, why I was in the paper and on the radio, where my Latvian heritage fits in, cultural interest and why the collaboration with Dove House Hospice could potentially be life changing for me and those who would like to say something about dying.

They both had some great ideas about how I could be part of their legacy and help people talk about death openly and without fear.

Dying Matters is an organisation that to helps people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life. This will involve a fundamental change in society in which dying, death and bereavement will be seen and accepted as the natural part of everybody’s life cycle. Changes in the way society views dying and death have impacted on the experience of people who are dying and bereaved. Our lack of openness has affected the quality and range of support and care services available to patients and families. It has also affected our ability to die where or how we would wish.

The Dying Matters Coalition is working to address this by encouraging people to talk about their wishes towards the end of their lives, including where they want to die and their funeral plans with friends, family and loved ones.

Talking about dying makes it more likely that you, or your loved one, will die as you might have wished and it will make it easier for your loved ones if they know you have had a ‘good death’.

Dove House Hospice gets involved with them as it benefits the patients and extends the experience their services provide.

So there might be photographic opportunities, stories to be build on raising awareness of the open conversation about dying.

Death Cafe is something really, really awesome.My reaction was pure happiness and I already see the future vision of how the concepts of talking about death could be changed.

What is Death Cafe?

At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death.

Our objective is ‘to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’.

A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session.

Our Death Cafes are always offered:

– On a not for profit basis

– In an accessible, respectful and confidential space

– With no intention of leading people to any conclusion, product or course of action

– Alongside refreshing drinks and nourishing food – and cake!

See more here: What is Death Cafe about?


In 2010 Jon Underwood decided to develop a series of projects about death one of which was to focus on talking about death. In November Jon read about the work of Bernard Crettaz in the Independent newspaper. Inspired by Bernard’s work, Jon immediately decided to use similar model for his own project, and Death Cafe was born.

Dove House Hospice often visit Death Cafe or make their own based on the same concepts.
I would love to come along to something like this, because that might be the place where I could get the support and people with open minded opinion about openly discussing death.

Other events like Memorium Days, Day of the Dead  and Before I Die wall are part of the Dove House Hospice legacy…a lot of interesting and project related things to get involved in.

I could see how I could collaborate with Dove House Hospice and eskimosoup regards to the “Before I Die” wall as we have recently discussed giving the access to the wall in different communities…

Also Dove House Hospice have submitted a Community Project for Hull City Of Culture 2017 where they plan to get children involved in talking openly about death, visiting schools in Hull, create workshops and creative sessions to explore what kids think about death, find out what they know about dying and also look at the cultural perspective. The end result is an exhibition that would tell the story about the project.


Dove House Hospice often organise evening events where they have different kinds of mediums in place, like films, speakers, workshops related to death and raising awareness. Or just making it easier to get the head around.
They asked if I could do a presentation and entertain Dove House Hospice patients for the evening…

All great stuff, really excited for the future collaboration.
They are “my people” and I am so happy that they even consider me to be valuable to be part of the great legacy they have been building for many years.

The next improtant step is to become a volunteer and go through the official process of becoming Tania’s volunteer.

Also I have arranged a second visit to have a look at the units, grounds and meet some people, so really exciting times ahead.

Unfortunately it is too late to hope for some imagery for Final Major Project, but it will be a great start for my “after Uni” project development and I can’t be happier about this opportunity.

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