Ann Murphy graduated from Surrey University with an honours degree in Human Biology. She became a civil servant and worked in the Department of Health and Social Security on negotiating and implementing terms and conditions of service for hospital and community doctors. The next few years were spent bringing up her three children before studying for and gaining a Post-graduate Certificate in Education. Ann taught a wide range of subjects in a variety of primary schools in Buckinghamshire and Inner London but specialised in key-stage 2 science.
Since being a schoolgirl, Ann has almost constantly been a volunteer with different charities. She spent years with St John Ambulance putting the first aid skills she had learned to good use at public events. As a student, Ann was a volunteer with the Children’s Country Holiday Fund charity which took school children from deprived Inner London areas for a summer holiday by the seaside. Whilst between jobs, she taught literacy and numeracy skills at a unit for young ex-offenders. During the years at home with small children, Ann was the treasurer of a local NSPCC fundraising committee, a catechist at the church she attended and chair of the Pastoral Council there. Ann also served as a lay member on the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
After hearing Daryl Ann Hardman speak in 1999 about the ground-breaking work being done by Anna Garchakova and her staff at the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (BCH) in Minsk, Ann wanted to do whatever she could to support this venture. Ann became a trustee of a charity that supported BCH. She found visiting the hospice children and families a humbling experience. Even when faced with such adversity, the children and families were hugely hospitable and grateful to BCH for improving their lives so much. It meant a great deal to them to be able to care for their sick children at home with the support of hospice staff.
Ann was a founding trustee of Friends of BCH. She says, ‘Much has been achieved in providing palliative care to children in Belarus. At the beginning, there were three beds in a hospital. Now, BCH cares for more than 120 children a year in their own home, each child in Belarus has a right to palliative care if they need it and BCH is advising organisations in different countries in the region on setting up their own children’s hospices. There is still much to be done and I will continue to contribute whatever I can to achieve this.’