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Glasgow Cinema Manager Sheila Pacifico retires after 17 years

07th May 2024

Blog by Sheila Pacifico, now retired Cinema Manager at the Glasgow MediCinema

MediCinema’s longest serving Cinema Manager Sheila Pacifico has just retired after an incredible 17 years and 6 months at the Glasgow MediCinema, now situated at the Royal Hospital for Children/Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

We are all so enormously grateful to Sheila for her dedication and commitment over these many years and for the many lives she has touched during her time as a Cinema Manager.

We asked her for some thoughts on her time serving both hospital populations of paediatric and adult patients.

“I started in 2007 at Yorkhill Children’s Hospital.  We were the second MediCinema in the UK, we screened in 35mm film and had a couple of projectionists who came to run the screenings – thank goodness because I knew nothing about film! We soon changed however to digital and also 3D and I had to quickly learn the new technology necessary to run the screenings from then on. We recruited nurses and volunteers and were good to go!


One of the things I am most proud of is being part of the hospital and having had the privilege of building and managing a team of fantastic nurses and volunteers who always pulled together, worked in great harmony, covered shifts sometimes even at short notice, came week in week out with absolute dedication and commitment to make sure that our service was never interrupted for our patients and families.

Sheila Pacifico

There have been many, many highlights through the years but one I will never forget is being contacted by a ward who were treating an adult palliative care patient. I had to organise personal screenings for this family as he was pretty seriously unwell at that point.  He was a film buff and on speaking with him and his wife the first time they came, they shared that “a Friday night at the pictures was how we started courting”.  They were absolutely blown away when they came as they thought they were coming to a room with a pull down screen!


The patient asked for the next time to see a film which was just about to be released. I was leaving for London for our annual Management Meeting on the Thursday and thought I would wait till the Monday to sort things. I then had a thought which made me go ahead and organise everything to just do the screening on the Thursday instead. We contacted the distributor, explained the situation, and thanks to the incredible relationship we had, (Sony in this case) jumped through hoops to get the film to us.


His wife and their family came together watched the film and loved it.


When I came into work on the Monday morning, I found this message from his wife;


Sadly (my husband)  passed away early hours Friday morning. We saw Baby Driver on Thursday afternoon, what a wonderful memory myself and my family will have of that day. My husband spending his last day at the cinema it was what he loved doing best.  I can’t thank yourself and staff enough for your kindness in arranging it. Can you please also extend our thanks to the young man (sorry I have forgotten his name) who came along with us on Thursday. He was so lovely. What a wonderful idea this is for all patients and their families watching a good movie you can forget all your concerns and life seems normal for a couple of hours.  I thank you. I have added a photo of my husband at the cinema, the last photo taken of him.


What really struck me about this is that this lady despite going through what she had, wanted to write to us to say what it had meant to them all as a family to have had the possibility to come and be together at that time. Apart from being extremely humbling, it really made me realise the power and the depth of impact MediCinema can have on our patients and families.


After more than 17 years of working here, it is my firm belief that having a MediCinema in our hospital is a huge, huge benefit.

I have seen in my role and have personally experienced that having a loved one in hospital is all consuming for the family, and often terrifying for the patient. To say it’s stressful is an understatement, it’s a constant source of worry with little respite. To be able to give our patients some precious “time out” in a beautiful, comfortable, relaxing, inclusive, colourful, non-clinical environment where they can watch the latest films together, free of any cost is truly special.

Sheila Pacifico

We are the only one in Scotland and we should shout from the rafters that we have this amazing opportunity to help people relax, feel brighter, sometimes less scared, and encouraged during some of their most difficult times. It is priceless and a great privilege to be part of. The constant uplifting feedback we receive from our patients and their families only reinforces this belief more and more.


I have been asked what I am going to miss the most. That’s a tough question to answer but I think I can honestly say “everything”. Paul, my boss and his kindness through the years, our team, the colleagues, the patients, the families I have gotten to know through the years, the friendships. The joy of being part of putting smiles on the faces and changing someone’s day. Every aspect of the role has been completely enriching!


It has also taken me mentally and physically to places I would not have imagined, from pushing the boundaries of personally tackling events and rallying people to join us to help fundraise thousands of pounds for our Adult patient screenings together through the years. That was something I had never done before the role. I can’t start to name people as I will do a dis-service to others. There are way too many to name personally, you all know who you are and I thank you.


It culminated in a personal challenge at age 62 to cycle, having not been on a bike for years, from Vietnam to Cambodia, around 300 miles with Elaine Beattie one of our volunteers. Exhilarating, breath-taking, exciting, HARD WORK, and massively rewarding. Whoever would have thought!! Funniest comment I had was from my son Steven, “Mum, why don’t you just do gardening or something like people your age!” This made me laugh out loud!


Together on that one occasion, we raised around £13k thanks to the most incredible constant ongoing support from volunteers, friends, and my family who have ALWAYS been there, fundraising and challenging in their own ways, Skydives, Ziplines, Tough Mudders, Kiltwalks, 10Ks. It really makes me realise how fortunate I am to have had such a blast whilst “working”. I can honestly say that I have never got up in the morning and thought, “jeez, I have to go to work!” Not many people can say that.


Lastly I just genuinely want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. It has been a blast! a pleasure! And such a privilege, I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity.”