A PROFESSOR of Palliative Care from Denbighshire is one of four people from across Wales to have been awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship.

The prize, created by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, offers winners the chance to travel the world and research cutting-edge solutions to important topical issues.

Having been awarded her fellowship, Mari Lloyd-Williams is set to travel to the Faroe Islands, Ireland and the Netherlands to study volunteer-run palliative care services in rural areas.

Mari, who works at the University of Liverpool, says she will use her findings to inform government policy on end of life care.

"I am privileged to chair a volunteer-run project in my rural village, which has supported over 100 older people approaching the end of their lives by providing a caring day service where rural people receive support," Mari said.

"Older people with dementia sit alongside those with cancer, heart disease or lung disease and help each other giving all a sense of purpose and value. As a palliative care doctor, I am very aware of the vital importance of social support at the end of life and want to change how we facilitate such support."

Speaking on the Fellowship itself, Mari added: "I'm looking forward to visiting Giljagarður in Leirvik, Faroe Islands - a village of 800 people with a 10 place residential unit and a nursery school with which it shares activities. I want to learn how people are enabled as volunteers and observe the nursery school visits.

"I want to see how we can help volunteers support people with life limiting illness to the end of life particularly in rural day care settings. End of life care for older people is challenging and daycare services can provide pivotal support enabling people to remain within their own community to last weeks and days of life.

"Rural communities struggle to develop and maintain services, have limited resources including people and buildings leaving young and old isolated – I wish to explore how communities develop intergenerational services for older people with long term and life limiting illness co-existing with crèche/kindergarten."

Mari’s Churchill Fellowship is supported by the Lloyd George Foundation. Together, the four people chosen throughout Wales will receive grants totalling over £27,000.

They are among 150 people from all regions of the UK who were selected from almost 1,800 applicants to win a Churchill Fellowship. The average length of a Fellowship is six weeks.

The next chance to apply opens on May 16. Application details are available online at wcmt.org.uk.