Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester officially opened a new hospice at Thorpe Hall last Tuesday. Money for Sue Ryder’s Thorpe Hall Hospice, which cost £6 million to build, was collected through the fund raising efforts of residents from Peterborough and Stamford.
The Duchess of Gloucester was the Patron of the Thorpe Hall Capital Appeal to raise the money needed to fund the new hospice, and launched the appeal in March 2013. She returned to Thorpe Hall last year to see the progress of the work, making this her third visit to the site.
The new Hospice building boasts state-of-the-art care giving facilities, including en suite shower rooms, specially designed water jets which relieve muscle pain and tension, piped oxygen, accessible walled gardens, as well as WiFi and a television in every room. It also has a living room for family counselling, a play area for children, and a multi-faith spiritual centre.
“I was sold on the design that so cleverly fitted into the walled garden with an opening from every room into a bit of the garden be it summer or winter or any season but with beautiful planting, and the ability to go out, even in your bed if you so wish,” The Duchess said. “I think many a dream has come true thanks to the enormously hard work of the fund raising committee and the incredibly generous donations from different firms and trusts and many individuals, some of whom have been immensely generous.”
At the opening, Her Royal Highness, praised the staff and volunteers for their efforts in making the Hospice a reality. She was joined by 18 year-old Jessica Bacon, whose father spent the last three weeks of his life at Thorpe Hall in 2013. “My dad was admitted in 2013. He had a terminal brain tumour,” Jessica said afterwards. “The care he received was absolutely incredible, but the staff looked after us so well as well. We have been helping fund raise since then, and it is incredible to see this completed, as it is what we have been working for. It is brilliant that another family like ours will receive the brilliant care we had in a purpose built building.”
Jane Petit, the director of the Hospice, spoke about The Duchess’s visit, saying: “To have the Duchess here is recognition of the hard work and commitment of the staff, volunteers and donors we have here. This is a very significant building for Peterborough. We now have a facility that provides people with incredible care.”
“We have 50 per cent more patients than we did at this time last year,” she added. “The new building means we can look after more people and provide their families with a better experience. Everyone who has donated, whether it is a coupe of pounds in a tin or a very big donation, has helped, and we would not be able to provide the care we do without their help.”