Her Royal Highness Princess Royal visited Cheadle today to mark a very special moment in St Ann’s Hospice’s history.
The charity, which cares for patients with life-limiting illnesses from across Greater Manchester, is celebrating 50 years since it opened, and The Princess Royal joined staff, patients and volunteers as they marked the occasion.
In 1967 Dame Cicely Saunders oversaw the creation of the UK’s first modern hospice, St Christopher’s Hospice in London. Around the same time, it was recognised that a hospice was needed in Manchester. Dr Moya Cole, from The Christie Hospital, informally approached the Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend Dr William Greer, asking if local churches would join together to set up a hospice.
St Ann’s Hospice in Heald Green received its first patients on 17 May 1971. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, officially opened the hospice in June 1971.
The organisation opened a second hospice site in Little Hulton which began receiving patients in 1979, and Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal came to officially open it in May that year.
Rachel McMillan, Chief Executive of St Ann’s, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal for taking time in her busy schedule to come to St Ann’s. We were honoured to show her around our Heald Green site, and to introduce her to some of our patients and their families, staff and volunteers.
“We’re hugely proud to have reached our 50th birthday, and it’s only thanks to the local community that we’ve been able to do that. That’s especially true over the last two years when we’ve all been working really hard to continue providing care throughout the pandemic.
“We’re providing a huge range of services to local people, whether via our inpatient units on our hospice sites, or virtually. We’re also caring for people in their own homes, or the place they call home, and I’m really proud of how we’ve adapted to continue doing that despite the challenges that have come with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Whether it’s the support we receive from fundraisers who generously help us raise the £20,000 a day we need to keep our services running, the endless time our army of more than 700 local volunteers give to help staff and patients, or the businesses and health care professionals who collaborate with us in so many ways – we simply wouldn’t have been here for so long without them all.”
The Princess Royal was given a tour of the hospice, and planted a special commemorative tree to mark the occasion. She met patients and families being cared for at the hospice, and spoke to volunteers and members of staff about the work the charity does in the local area.
St Ann’s Hospice is one of the oldest hospices in the UK and cares for people affected by life-limiting illnesses from its sites in Heald Green and Little Hulton, as well as via a range of community and outreach services.
To make a donation to the hospice or find out more about its services, please go to www.sah.org.uk