Scholarship set up to preserve legacy of grandmother Peggy Copeman

Peggy Copeman died on the side of the road of the M11 while being transported back to Norwich from D

Peggy Copeman died on the side of the road of the M11 while being transported back to Norwich from Devon. A family photograph from her 80th birthday in September 2018. Picture: Fulcher family - Credit: Archant

The legacy of an 81-year-old grandmother who died in an M11 lay-by while being transported between mental health facilities is to be preserved with a new scholarship fund.

Peggy Copeman, of New Buckenham, died in December 2019 as she was being transported back to Norfolk from Cygnet Hospital in Somerset, where she had been sent for treatment. 

Mrs Copeman was a patient of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust at the time and an inquest into her death held last year identified a number of shortcomings in the care she received.

And now, following campaigning from Mrs Copeman's family, the same trust has set up an annual scholarship fund in her memory.

The fund will make £3,000 available each year to provide successful applicants with training in the care of elderly patients - particularly those living with conditions like dementia. 

Nick and Maxine Fulcher from North Lopham have been struggling to get the right care for their son K

Nick and Maxine Fulcher from North Lopham have been struggling to get the right care for their son Kieran. Photo: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Nick Fulcher, Mrs Copeman's son-in-law, a fervent campaigner for mental health service improvements, said the scholarship would help ensure people were cared for properly in later life.

He said: "Peggy was the most loving and caring person you could ever hope to live, so this is a good way to preserve her memory.

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"I want her name to haunt NSFT for years to come and drive improvement so nobody else goes through what our family has.

"Peggy would be proud of the fact people will benefit from training to improve patient care in her name."

The inaugural Peggy Copeman Scholarship has been allocated to provide training in a method known as Dementia Care Mapping, which trains mental health staff to put themselves in the shoes of dementia patients and observe and assess the care quality they receive.

Each year the funding will be allocated to provide different forms of training to help with the care of elderly patients.

Diane Hull, chief nurse at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT

Diane Hull, chief nurse at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

Diane Hull, chief nurse at NSFT, said: "We are honoured Peggy's family have allowed us to set up a scholarship in her name which will allow our staff to continually learn and improve the care we provide."

Meanwhile, Premier Rescue Ambulance Ltd, the private firm which carried Mrs Copeman on the day she died, has been struck off by the Care Quality Commission, it has been confirmed.

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