Jennifer honoured at commemorative tree planting ceremony

Posted on in Staff

A tree has been planted in memory of hospital supervisor Jennifer Chilver who often helped raise money for cancer services and tragically died from breast cancer at the age of 51.

In a well-attended ceremony at The James Cook University Hospital, Jennifer was remembered as a much-loved wife, parent, friend and colleague by family and friends including husband Steven Chilver and son Ryan Reed.

The tree, which was planted on the James Cook site, was donated by Jennifer’s former colleagues.

Jennifer was a committed member of the team at the sterile services department at James Cook, part of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is also where she met her loving husband.

Steven said: “We met when I joined the team 12 years ago; her job was very important to her and she worked right up until a few weeks before she died. Jenny was such a determined character once she put her mind to something no one could talk her out of it.

“One of the side effects of her ongoing treatment meant that her bones became hollowed out and weakened, both legs eventually breaking in separate incidents. Yet she still continued with a number of fund raising challenges including Race4Life at Ormesby Hall in 2013 which she was determined to complete without crutches.”

Jennie also undertook a 7.5 mile walk from Great Ayton to Roseberry Topping in May 2017.

Steven said: “She knew I was concerned about undertaking the Roseberry Topping walk when she was so ill, so she didn’t tell me she was doing it and I received a photo with the message ‘guess where I am?’ when she got to the top.

“We were so grateful for the support from everyone; from the consultants and healthcare workers who were directly responsible for her care and treatment, to immediate colleagues in the sterilised services department, everyone at the trust in fact who went out of their way to help us.”

Jennifer worked at James Cook for 15 years and was a member of the breast care support group at the Trinity Holistic Centre where, along with everyone at sterile services, she helped to raise money through raffles and walks long before she was diagnosed in 2012.

Steven said: “As a member of staff she was well known to many here at the James Cook and during her treatment met many more. Tragically despite everyone’s best efforts Jennie passed away on the 12 July last year.

“Before she was diagnosed, she would often help organise walks and charity nights with her friends at sterile services and was a passionate advocate of the cancer support services at Trinity Holistic Centre.

“It’s been very hard losing Jennie but the support we received from the staff has been outstanding. When things got really bad, we were supported by our colleagues who would often arrange short breaks away for us when she had breaks in her treatment so that we could spend precious quality time as a family.”