For the last 50 years St Christopher’s Hospice has been caring for the communities of South East London, and in that time has supported over 55,000 people and their friends and families. To commemorate its 50th anniversary, and all the families, friends, volunteers, and professionals in end of life care that have been involved with St Christopher’s over the years, a very special service of celebration and thanksgiving will be held in Southwark Cathedral in London on the 20 July at 7pm.

The service is free to attend and all are welcome (tickets must be booked). Speakers at the evening event include Baroness Julia Neuberger, former Chair of the Kings Fund, Julia France, the mother of Sadie Rance, 24, who was cared for by St Christopher’s, and Shaun O’Leary, Joint Chief Executive at St Christopher’s Hospice. There will also be a candlelit procession, with a participant chosen to represent each year of the hospice.

Shaun O’Leary comments, “St Christopher’s means so much to so many people, right across South East London. Very many people know someone who we have helped to look after, and we feel very privileged to be part of that community and receive so much support back in return. Our service will be a wonderful occasion to celebrate the last 50 years and also give thanks to Dame Cicely Saunders, who started the global hospice movement from right here in Sydenham.”

Founded by Dame Cicely Saunders and opened on the 24 July 1967, St Christopher’s pioneered modern hospice care. Her vision, shared freely with others, led to the opening of hospices in the UK and across the world and gave rise to palliative care – a new discipline in medicine. Dame Cicely was determined to show that it is possible to live until you die.

The service is a free event but tickets must be booked by emailing

Southwark Cathedral is at London Bridge, London SE1 9DA (nearest train and tube station: London Bridge). The event will start at 7pm.