Throughout her working life, Fiona Littledale was an information professional. She was described recently as someone ‘who dedicated her life to empowering others to be the best that they could be’. This was never more true than when working as a healthcare librarian at St George’s University Library. In her last years, when hospital visits became both more frequent and more intrusive, it would give her the most tremendous lift to encounter some of ‘her’ students, who had passed through her hands whilst studying for their profession. Training and knowledge were as much weapons against cancer as hypodermics and scalpels, so far as Fiona was concerned.
Fiona loved the sea, and on our many visits we would often pass benches placed there in memory of a loved one. Much as she loved the sea, and looking at it, she had strong views on the benches. ‘Don’t have a bench with my name’, she said ‘I don’t want people sitting on me’. True to that spirit, the Fiona Fund has found a far more enduring way to remember her.
Each year the Fund will make the Fiona Littledale Award to an oncology nurse who has already demonstrated their personal commitment to developing their skills and understanding of the field. The award will make it possible for them to attend further training by covering the costs associated with it. Just like Fiona herself, this will encourage those who are already prepared to go the extra mile by offering to shoulder some of the burden. Each year the recipient will write a blog post on their training experience, and will be offered the opportunity to host the Fiona Fund Twitter account.
We hope these wonderful oncology nurses will find a bench once in a while for a well-earned sit down, but we also hope the Fiona Fund will help them on their way.
I always referred to Fiona as my 'bravest and best'. Hopefully, this Fund will enable others to do their best in a way which would have made her proud.