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Queen receives teddy bears at hospice opening

The Queen yesterday officially opened a new £3.4 million facility for The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House.

Located in the village of Hillington, the hospice is a just over three miles from Sandringham Estate.

Dressed in a teal Peter Enrione collared dress and coat, The Queen met Jack Plummer from King’s Lynn, his mother Amee Walton died in 2013 from a brain tumour at the young age of 29.

Jack gifted The Queen with a teddy bear each for Prince George and Princess Charlotte on behalf of Nelson’s Journey bereavement charity.

The tags on the bears had a handwritten note from Jack reading: “Please look after this bear like Nelson’s Journey did to me.”

Jack’s mother was looked after by the charity’s Hospice at Home service. Jack said: “The Queen seemed really interested in the support I’ve had and said the prince and princess would appreciate the presents.”

Her Majesty spent time meeting with other patients keeping busy at the hospice.

Dorothy Palmer, 70, from Narborough, Norfolk was exercising on a treadmill when she met Queen Elizabeth.

Palmer spoke of her disease: “I have bone cancer and the exercise I do here has really helped improve my mobility.

“The Queen stopped by the treadmill and joked ‘that doesn’t look much fun’.”

Another patient 83-year-old Jean Gibson from King’s Lynn also suffers from bone cancer but was taking part in a tai chi session.

She said: “It’s a real privilege to see the Queen taking an interest in the hospice.

“She seemed curious about what we were up to.”

The hospice’s new facilities are complete with a new garden from a recent Chelsea Flower Show exhibit donated by a local firm Crane Garden Building. Peter Morton from Crane said: “We’ve been working with a team of volunteers since May and completed the garden at the weekend.

“It’s been hard work but welcoming the Queen to see it makes it worthwhile.”

In addition to meeting patients, The Queen spoke with volunteers, trustees and medical professionals.

Chief executive of the hospice, Lyndsay Carter said: “It was wonderful to welcome Her Majesty to the hospice and to be recognised for what we are achieving here.”

Moving into the new facility has allowed Tapping House to increase its care to patients and their families in the area. Home visits, day patient therapies and bereavement services have partnered with the NHS, charities and other organisations have been developed.

Hospice at Home was introduced two years ago, the initiative provides end-of-life hospice care in the comfort of the patient’s home.

The new Hillington location has seen a 75% increase in this service through patient referrals.



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