A terminally-ill Derbyshire woman has been presented with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019 for her services to employment protection for terminally ill workers.

Jacci Woodcock, 62yrs, from Milford, Derbyshire was forced out of her job as an area sales manager four and half years ago after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

With the support of her Union and her local MP, Pauline Latham, Jacci started the Dying to Work campaign which has since seen hundreds of employers nationwide sign up to its voluntary charter to prevent cases like Jacci’s happening in the future.

The MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) was presented by Mr William Tucker, CVO, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, at a special ceremony at Treetops Hospice Care.

Jacci’s family, friends and Treetops staff and volunteers attended the ceremony in the hospice’s Wellbeing Space. The venue was chosen at the request of Jacci, who has received Treetops services.

I am thrilled, appreciative and humbled

Jacci said:

“I am thrilled, appreciative and humbled to receive the unexpected MBE. It was so lovely to have had the support of my family and friends being with me for the investiture. I thank them for their precious time and effort as many travelled hundreds of miles to be there for me.

“I am very grateful that Treetops Hospice Care offered their venue and warm hospitality for this special occasion. The atmosphere was both relaxed and buoyant. A big thank you to all the staff who both helped and also gave their time in a friendly professional manner.

“I, along with the Unions and my MP, Pauline Latham, still have work to continue with the campaign. I will not stop until there has been a change in the present law that ensures terminally ill employees who wish to continue to work are protected.”

Great courage and fortitude in her efforts

HM Lord-Lieutenant said:

“It was a real privilege for me to present Jacci with her MBE on behalf of The Queen.

“Jacci has shown great courage and fortitude in her efforts to ensure that no-one else has to put up with the appalling situation she faced with her past employers and it is great that those efforts have been recognised in this way.”

A pleasure to be a part of this celebration

Treetops Wellbeing Space manager, Alison Hembrow, gave her congratulations on behalf of the charity:

“It was an honour to host this prestigious event. We are aware of the importance of this campaign which is fully supported by us here at Treetops, as we see first-hand the impact of someone losing their job because they have been diagnosed with a terminal condition.

“It was a pleasure to be a part of this celebration, as part of our continuing support for Jacci.”

Since its launch in June 2015, the Dying to Work Voluntary Charter now protects over one and a half million employees. Further information can be found on the Dying to Work website. 

Treetops services include Support and Information, Wellbeing Space, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.