PEOPLE spending the end of their lives at York's St Leonard's Hospice are being given the chance to record their autobiography for their family and friends.

The remarkable project allows patients to remember their lives and to leave a legacy for the people who care for them.

The hospice has been working with the Hospice Biographers charity to train staff and volunteers to work with patients to prepare and record their biography.

Frances Pantin, an occupational therapist who leads the project, said: “Since recording our first biography in early July, we have recorded a patient’s biography every week and demand is growing.

"When we discuss hospice biographies with patients they usually start by saying that they’re just an ordinary person and don’t have anything interesting to record, but to us there is no such thing as an ordinary person.

"Every life is extraordinary and it is our privilege to work with people to record that”.

The Hospice Biographers charity said it knows how powerful the voice of a loved one can be, especially after they have gone, and especially when speaking directly about their life, experiences, challenges, achievements and the people they have cared most about.

The recording is focused on what the patient wants; some people choose to be interviewed by their biographer, some prefer to plan and deliver their own thoughts without questions being asked, many wish to record specific messages for loved ones and family members.

Patients are given the opportunity to give feedback after they have made their recording.

All have said that they would recommend having an audio biography made to their friends and family.

Their comments about the experience reflect value of adding to the legacy that they can leave for their loved ones and also the significance to themselves of making the recording. Hospice patient Ron Smith said: “It’s an opportunity to complete the job. It’s given me a unique feeling. Superb!”