Staff, volunteers and patients at St Luke’s Hospice in Winsford had a visit from the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, on Monday (19th November).
His Royal Highness, the youngest of the Queen’s four children, visited the hospice to help mark the charity’s 30th anniversary this year.
He spoke with patients and their families and chatted with medical staff and volunteers, as well as those responsible for raising the £3 million needed each year to keep the hospice running.
The Earl of Wessex also unveiled a plaque commemorating 30 years of St Luke’s Hospice.
Addressing trustees, staff and volunteers, Prince Edward said: “Thank you for all the work you do, day in and day out, and the huge numbers of volunteers that make it all possible.
“It’s fantastic what you do so please keep up the wonderful work.”
A special montage of photographs taken over the last 30 years at St Luke’s Hospice was also unveiled in honour of the Earl’s visit.
The images included some taken in May 1988 when the Prince and late Princess of Wales (Charles and Diana) officially opened the hospice.
Wendy Wilson, matron at St Luke’s, said: “We are so incredibly honoured to receive a visit from the Earl of Wessex to mark 30 years of care here at St Luke’s.
“We are very proud of the service we have provided our communities over the last three decades and to have that work recognised in this way is just wonderful.”
Wendy added: “The visit has not only been a boost for staff at the hospice, but also for our volunteers who give up so much of their time for St Luke’s.”
His Royal Highness visited the inpatient unit at the hospice and spoke with nursing staff as well as patients.
The Earl also chatted to patients in day care, including 41-year-old David Sayle, his partner Suzanne Price and their 1-year-old daughter Amelia.
David was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in January and he and his family have received support from St Luke’s.
David said: “I was a little bit overwhelmed to meet him to be honest. I was talking to him about when I went through therapy and it was just like chatting to a normal person.
“He made a fuss of Amelia too. I think she enjoyed meeting him, she took it all in.”
A number of local dignitaries also attended the visit, including the Lord Lieutenant David Briggs; High Sheriff of Cheshire, Alexis Redmond; her husband Phil Redmond; the chair of Cheshire West & Chester Council, Cllr Bob Rudd; his wife Sandra Rudd; chief executive of Cheshire West & Chester Council, Mr Andrew Lewis; and MP for Eddisbury, Antoinette Sandbach.
St Luke’s Hospice patron Rosie Spiegelberg MBE said: “Prince Edward was the icing on the cake, which he also happened to cut, to celebrate 30 years of St Luke’s!”
Rosie explained: “His visit prompted the creation of a wonderful montage of photographs from the last 30 years. Now we look forward to the next 30 years!”