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Ashgate Hospice > International Women’s Day at Ashgate Hospice: My late daughter will never stop inspiring me, by Tracie Holocuk

For International Women’s Day this year, we would like to pay tribute to the incredible role women have had and continue to have in shaping Ashgate Hospice. We asked colleagues to nominate who at the hospice inspires them – and we’ve asked nominees their thoughts on life as a woman in hospice care.   

Here the Shop Manager of our Clay Cross store, Tracie Holocuk, discusses what motivates her to make a difference and how her daughter, Kim, who died in our care will continue to inspire her every day.  

What is your job role, what does it entail and what do you love about working at the hospice? 

My job role is manager of our Clay Cross Charity Shop and what I love most about work is the diversity of any working day. Different staff, different volunteers, different challenges, and different donations – no day is the same. One thing that never changes though is that my team and I are always trying to raise every single penny that we can to help the hospice and its patients.  

I refer to myself as a Shire horse; strong, steady, and in for the duration! Mentoring staff and volunteers has its challenges, but it is so worthwhile and grounding. I am honoured to look after my staff and volunteers and hope I am doing them proud in return.  

What makes you proud to be a woman working for Ashgate Hospice? 

I feel that I go out of my way for my shop, its staff and its volunteers to be the face of Ashgate out in the community. Our shop is a reflection of the hospice and the standards we attain to. I am proud to be part of the community, helping our locals by providing a warm welcome, a friendly face and good quality, designer, value for money items that help them improve their standard of living, self-esteem and quality of life. Giving volunteers a second chance when maybe life has not been too kind to them, watching them blossom and regain self-respect and a sense of purpose. I am proud to make a difference, and provide a place where people want to come to and make a difference!  

What inspired you to get into your chosen career? 

I was inspired to apply for a role at Ashgate after my daughter and my mum were cared for by the hospice. Whilst Kim was in Ashgate I was blown away by the level of care, dedication, stoicism, loyalty and camaraderie of the staff and volunteers, and the fact that this level of nursing must cost an awful lot of money! I wanted to “pay back” even on a minor scale, just some of the costs of Kim’s care, and help to provide that same level of nursing to every other patient who would need it in the future.  

Kim wrote me a letter and a poem before she died, which I read on days when I haven’t got my mojo. Kim said I am her role model, and that everything I do, I do it the best I can. This might sound odd, but I always try and do my work and the work that Kim would have done, if only she had been given her life to live. I want to make her and my other two children proud of me and I know that I can make a difference. I want to play my part in making Ashgate the best it can be – and more! 

How does it feel to know your colleagues are inspired by you? And is there anyone at the hospice that inspires you?  

I feel humbled and proud to know that my colleagues are inspired by me. I am grateful to know this as I am the kind of person that sometimes doubts myself and wonder if I could be doing more. I always treat other people the way I would want to be treated and pride myself on giving everyone I can the chance to better their life, learn, grow, and feel valued, cared about, safe and supported.  

We are one Ashgate and as we continue to evolve and develop, I am inspired daily by the people I work with, and the goals we aim to achieve. The person who inspires me most at Ashgate Hospice is our chief executive Barbara-Anne Walker, who embodies our values, lives by them and really cares about us all. We are not just numbers on a payroll to her, we are teams and people, who respond best to praise and feeling valued. Barbara-Anne listens and acts, sometimes having to make very difficult decisions, but always with our best interests at heart. 

What woman inspires you most and why?  

There is no doubt whatsoever about the answer to this question. It’s my daughter Kim. Kim never ever gave up, right to her last breath and was the most courageous, inspiring person I have ever met, and I’m sure she will always be. The things Kim had to endure were heart-breaking to say the least, and I will never ever forget how she faced every single major setback with devout resilience and positivity.  

If Kim could do it, so can I. I will always be eternally grateful for the advice she gave me, and the lessons she taught me. Kim is not with me physically, but she is with me daily, helping me be the best I can be. Very often I look into those big brown eyes for answers, and she never disappoints. I miss her more than words can say, and I hope I can be half the woman she was!  


Read more from other nominees about what inspires them.

Why Tracie was nominated

“Tracie joined us as manager at Clay Cross in May 2022, while also managing the Alfreton shop. Despite being split between the two shops, her enthusiasm and energy was amazing.

“She has such a positive nature, supporting her staff and volunteers. She always listens to the volunteers, putting forward our comments and suggestions.”