Thursday, 08 May 2014

A major milestone was marked in the history of Peace Hospice Care on Thursday (8th May) when HRH Princess Michael of Kent officially opened the newly refurbished Starlight Centre.

This momentous occasion was enjoyed by staff, volunteers and trustees who were present to warmly welcome the Royal Visitor before she   unveiled a commemorative plaque in the Starlight Lounge.

'On behalf of Peace Hospice Care, I would like to thank the Department of Health for awarding us a grant which has allowed us to extend services here in the Starlight Centre,' said Princess Michael of Kent.

'I thank you for inviting me here today and it is my great privilege to unveil the plaque to officially open the Starlight Centre.'

During her visit to the Hospice Princess Michael of Kent was given a full tour of the new facilities. She was accompanied by Chairman of Trustees, David Ellis OBE, Chief Executive Sue Plummer and Director of Patient Services Jackie Tritton.

The Royal visitor was delighted to view the completed work of the extended Day Services including the new Creative Therapy Room, a new look Day Services lounge, a fresh new open plan Inpatient Unit and new lift facilities that improve access to the first floor.  

'Peace Hospice Care has a very special place in my heart,' said Princess Michael. 'I do love the Hospice and I am aware that this is a charity made up of individuals who are passionate and committed to moving it forward and making a difference to the lives of the people in South West Hertfordshire who need your services.'

Following her tour of the building and facilities, Princess Michael gave a generous amount of time to meeting the Hospice patients.  Her warmth undoubtedly made a difference to those in the Inpatient Unit and on the HOPE course.  Chatting to patients, families and healthcare professionals her kindness and care was greatly appreciated by all.

Taking the hand of patient Albert Parnell, aged 78, she sat by his side and chatted.  Albert's daughter Janet Hann and her sister Lesley Richards who was visiting her father from Australia, were warmed by the elegant Royal visitor.

'My dad is quite a Royalist, said Janet. 'He served in the Army and I know this moment meant a lot to him. He has been so well cared for at the Hospice and meeting a member of the Royal family was very special for all of us.'

For patient Peter Snow, aged 85, it was also a memorable and magnificent moment. Sitting by the side of HRH in the Inpatient lounge, Peter enjoyed a pleasant chat about the garden and the weather.

'She was a really nice lady and it was good to meet her, 'he remarked. ' I am going home on Monday and I will be telling my family and grandchildren all about the day I met Princess Michael of Kent.'

Peter sat back to watch HRH seal a time capsule that will not be opened for the next twenty years. Her visit was completed by her complimenting everyone on the progression of Peace Hospice Care over the years and she recognized the hard work and commitment given to the charity by the loyal workforce and volunteers.

Peace Hospice Care Chairman of Trustees, David Ellis OBE concluded by thanking Princess Michael of Kent for her visit and commitment to the Hospice.

'I want to say a big thank you to Princess Michael of Kent for being here with us again today.  The support you have given us over the years has been greatly appreciated and has helped us to raise the profile of our work.  It always creates a huge amount of excitement for everyone connected with the Hospice when you're with us – so thank you so much for sharing this special day with us.'

The Starlight Centre is the base for our Day Services.  The centre offers a range of medical, nursing, therapy, social and support services for people from the earliest stage of their illness.  Our Day Service aims to help patients take control of their illness and plan ahead.  Patients are encouraged to choose activities that they feel will best improve their health, wellbeing, independence and confidence.  Services include complementary therapy, relaxation techniques, wellbeing and confidence building, exercise and rehabilitation, creative therapies, carer support, financial advice, bereavement support and family support.  

 For further details on the Starlight Centre click here or call 01923 330330.

 Visit our facebook page to view our picture gallery of the Royal visit.