News legend urges support for Foyle Hospice

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Legendary newsreader Martyn Lewis has told the people of Derry how working for the Hospice movement “put a spring into his step.”

Speaking at the fifth of Magee College’s “A Conversation With...” series, Mr Lewis spoke of how important it is for the local community to support their hospice.

As chair of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, TV journalist and writer Martyn Lewis has done extensive work in promoting and advocating the work of hospices.

“I got into the voluntary sector to regain some balance back in my life. I found that the closest I got to contributing to the voluntary sector was putting money in a box.

“I was approached by a lady who was involved in the hospice movement and asked me to do a video for them using ITN equipment. I was always of the mindset that hospices are full of death and sadness.

“When I got there my eyes were opened that they are full of friendship and laughter.”

Mr Lewis made the move to the NCVO 12 years ago after a long career working for ITN and then the BBC. Lewis also played a prominent role in the coverage of the death of Princess Diana in August 1997.

“I have heard that the Foyle Hospice has great support from the community and I have heard of the wonderful things that they do. Helping your local hospice is an insurance policy for the future.

“Nobody knows when they will get bad news from the doctor. We owe it to our family and friends to help. The caring nature of hospices was the antidote to the cynical nature of the world of journalism. Every person should wake up once a week and ask, “What have I done for my community this week?” I notice the difference, when I help out.

“I have a spring in my step. Journalists report on what other people are doing, it makes such a difference to go out and do it yourself. The government can’t do everything.

“It’s much better to get it done by people getting together and achieving something.”

Mr Lewis also promised Foyle Hospice founder, Dr Tom McGinley that he would make a point of coming back to Derry to visit the hospice.