Tributes to healthcare campaigner Jenny Chittenden

Jenny Chittenden, also known as Jenny Cole, a former nurse and Trust governor who has died of Covid

Published on 22 January 2021

Tributes have been paid to long-term health campaigner and Trust governor Jenny Chittenden, who sadly passed away earlier this week.

Jenny, 71, from Faversham, who many people will remember as Jenny Cole, was a passionate advocate for the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and much-loved mum, grandmother and great grandmother.

Jenny was elected as a governor of East Kent Hospitals in March 2018.

Professor Stephen Smith, Chair of the Council of Governors, said: “Jenny was an active and passionate member on our Council of Governors and brought with her years of experience and skills.

“She was a very determined advocate for all patients and worked hard for her constituents in her role as governor.  Jenny’s service to her community spans across many decades and in many roles and she will be sorely missed.”

Jenny trained as a nurse at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital in 1968, before turning her attention to raising her children Claire, Matthew and Nathan, but remained passionate about the profession throughout her life.

As well as raising a family, Jenny worked as a school welfare assistant at The Westlands School and as an examination’s invigilator at Borden Grammar School, Sittingbourne and found time to volunteer on the children’s ward at Kent & Canterbury Hospital.

From 2000 to 2015 she worked with her husband, Mike, to lead regular events for the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, inspiring young people to learn about nature through pond dipping, woodland walks and similar activities.  She worked with the MoD on conservation projects in Canterbury and ran a community fishing club for 4 years.

Her son Matthew described Jenny as a “tower of strength”. He said: “When mum was passionate about something there was no stopping her, although she suffered from anxiety she could still stand in front a packed hall and address hundreds of people.

“She fought for what she thought was right and supported us on any path we wanted to take. She was the strongest woman we have ever known.”

Jenny passed away on Monday, 18 January at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, from Covid-19 pneumonia with family at her side.

Matthew added: “The staff that cared for mum on Fordwich Ward are worth their weight in gold, we will be eternally grateful for the way they spent time with her and cared for her.”

Jenny married her partner of 27 years, Mike Chittenden, on New Year’s Eve 2018. She has six grandchildren and a great grandchild and another one on the way.

Jenny’s dedication to serving the local community included roles as a Faversham Town Councillor, a primary school governor and organiser of the Faversham Hop Festival from 1996-1998.