Executive director leaving Ridge Meadows Hospice Society

Vosper leaving ‘big shoes to fill’

Vosper in his Oktoberfest garb for the Hospice Society’s annual fun fundraiser. (Contributed)                                Vosper in his Oktoberfest garb for the Hospice Society’s annual fun fundraiser. (Contributed)

Vosper in his Oktoberfest garb for the Hospice Society’s annual fun fundraiser. (Contributed) Vosper in his Oktoberfest garb for the Hospice Society’s annual fun fundraiser. (Contributed)

Executive director Mark Vosper is leaving the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society after six years heading the organization.

“I’ve had a fantastic time, and we’ve managed to grow the society programs to benefit the community,” he said.

He will move into a new field, which he did not want to discuss at this time.

The highlight for him has been the increase in the level of referrals and client support.

“It’s been challenging and interesting, and we’ve managed to change and adapt.”

The hospice society helps patients and their families facing life-threatening illnesses and provides palliative care.

Vosper has been overseeing a staff of 11, plus a large volunteer team that currently sits at 95 people regularly scheduled to donate their efforts.

There are others who volunteer on a more casual basis. This collective performs a multitude of tasks, from working at the thrift store to counselling people through grief and bereavement.

“My staff have been incredible,” he said, noting the work can swing from fun to intense, and sometimes very sad. “They work through any crisis put before them.”

“And we have an amazing pool of volunteers,” he added. “I’ve made a lot of good friends.”

Vosper came to Maple Ridge from Bath, England in 2008. He had been in the army.

He first worked with the SPCA in Maple Ridge for five years, then six years ago took on the top job at the hospice society.

“We will absolutely miss him,” said society president Ineke Boekhorst. “He’s a great individual, friends with all the staff, and we are all really sad that he’s leaving.

“He has done a fantastic job for six years, and really brought the hospice society forward.”

The difference between now and Vosper’s first day on the job is that there is a “way more awareness than the hospice society had,” she said.

She said the job requires someone who can lead a team effectively, has the management skills to run the thrift store business as well as the McKenney Creek Hospice Residence operations, and rally a large number of volunteers.

“It’s a very big job description, and big shoes to fill.”