St Christopher’s Hospice was honoured to receive a visit from its patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady of Ogilvy, this week.
The Princess was welcomed to St Christopher’s by new Chief Executive Helen Simmons and Chairman of the Board Neil Goulden, who were joined by Clinical Team Lead Katie Grace on a tour of the hospice’s wards, where Her Royal Highness met a number of patients and their families and friends and wished them all a Merry Christmas.
Following her tour of the wards, the Princess enjoyed a snowy stroll in the grounds where she observed one of the ‘Tree of Trees’, which was gifted to St Christopher’s as part of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier in the summer. As a centrepiece of the Jubilee festivities, the Tree of Trees stood tall outside Buckingham Palace as a message of hope, regeneration and optimism to our nation and the world.
St Christopher’s received one of the trees after being nominated by Sir Steve Bullock DL, and was awarded the honour in recognition of the vital contribution that the hospice makes to its local community.
IT Support Administrator and part-time Garden Volunteer Nick White and Volunteer Terry Hammond originally collected the tree alongside Helen Simmons in a ceremony back in October, bringing it back to St Christopher’s to be planted, and both joined Her Royal Highness yesterday to speak about their experience and share how much it meant to be involved.
To round off the afternoon, the Princess was invited in to St Christopher’s Centre for Awareness and Response to End of life (CARE), where afternoon tea was served and Her Royal Highness was met by Campaign Director Philippa Kelham, who then introduced groups of St Christopher’s benefactors, supporters and volunteers.
The Princess joined guests at every table to share greetings and stories of everyone’s connection to St Christopher’s, whilst pianist Mark Dowling played a selection of Christmas carols and hymns.
Finally, Her Royal Highness signed the St Christopher’s visitors’ book and was presented with flowers by Volunteer Sue Gilder, before saying her goodbyes and thanking everyone for such a warm and festive reception.
Speaking yesterday afternoon, Helen Simmons, Chief Executive at St Christopher’s, said “We are so pleased to have been able to welcome Her Royal Highness today, and very much hope the Princess enjoyed her time at the Hospice. Everyone here always looks forward to her visits so much, and we wish her and the rest of the Royal Family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
As one volunteer put it; “Today was such a special day. Everyone here, from patients to guests, will remember it for such a long time.”
To find out more about St Christopher’s Hospice, please visit https://www.stchristophers.org.uk/.