Royal Visit to celebrate 25 years of Day Therapy at Katharine House Hospice
Katharine House Hospice was honoured by a royal visit by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hospice Day Therapy Unit. Princess Alexandra visited staff, volunteers, patients and supporters at the Stafford hospice on Wednesday 13th June.
Princess Alexandra is the Queen’s first cousin and a working member of the Royal Family – she is a supporter of number charities. It is fitting that the Princess visited Katharine House after her brother – HRH the Duke of Kent officially opened the hospice’s In Patient Unit in 2002.
On arrival, Her Royal Highness was greeted by a group of excited local schoolchildren from St. John’s Primary School, Stafford proudly waving flags. Her Royal Highness was met by Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire Ian Dudson and his wife Jane Dudson who introduced her to High Sherriff of Staffordshire Pippa Gee and her consort Charles Pratt, Michael Greatorex Chairman of Staffordshire County Council and his wife Moira Greatorex, and the Mayor and Mayoress of Stafford Borough Councillor, Ray and Jenny Barron. The Princess was then given a tour of the hospice by Chief Executive Dr Richard Soulsby, accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant and Mrs Dudson.
Mrs Argyle, Higher Level Teaching Assistant from St. John’s said:
“Living across the road, as I did then, I remember seeing the hospice buildings being built all those years ago and so to be here today to greet the Princess is really special.”
The hospice opened its Day Unit in 1993 as the culmination of years of fundraising and tireless dedication from community groups and volunteers – today the hospice could not exist without their strong support and hard work. Several of the hospice’s original volunteers still kindly give their time to support the charity and care services are supported by volunteers who transport patients to and from the hospice from their own homes. Last year alone the hospice provided free care for 1100 patients and their families.
Princess Alexandra was given a presentation around the history of the Day Therapy Unit at the hospice and the vital free care and support it offers to patients and their families. Her Royal Highness spent time with patients who were delighted by her visit.
Ian Dreghorn, Day Therapies Patient summed up the experience: “An exceptional day with an exceptional lady.”
Peter Dakin, Day Therapies Patient said: “She came and she was interested in us.”
Princess Alexandra praised the hospice for a having “a lovely atmosphere” and thanked staff and volunteers for their hard work in providing vital care services. The Princess then unveiled a plaque commemorating her visit and the anniversary of the Day Therapy Unit and was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers by Mrs Joan Potter the longest serving Katharine House Hospice volunteer of 30 years.
Dr Soulsby said “It is a splendid day for Katharine House Hospice and the perfect way to celebrate 25 years of Day Therapies. We were delighted by the thoughtfulness that the Princess showed to patients and for taking time to talk with all our volunteers, supporters, and staff who were present on the day. We would like to thank the Princess for her kindness and for ensuring that this was a special day for all those who attended”.
Katharine House Hospice provides free care and support for adults and their families who are coping with progressive illness across mid-Staffordshire. It relies upon the kindness of the local community to help generate over 75% of the funds needed to run its range of vital services.