St John’s Hospice marks 30 years of caring for the community

St John's Hospice staff and patients pictured in 2015.
St John's Hospice staff and patients pictured in 2015.

St John’s Hospice is heading back down memory lane to mark its 30th anniversary this year.

The hospice was officially opened on January 8 1986 by Princess Alexandra – and staff are hoping for another royal visit this year as part of the centre’s milestone celebrations.

Staff with the first patients to use St John's Hospice.

Staff with the first patients to use St John's Hospice.

The year is being marked in numerous ways by staff and supporters of the Slyne Road charity.

Fundraising activities include a Great Wall of China trek in September, the Moonlight Walk (complete with a 1980s theme) on June 11 and a sell-out ball at the Globe Arena on May 21.

A team will also once again be taking part in the Born Survivor obstacle course, after the event raised £70,000 last April.

There will also be a marquee at the hospice available for hire which can be used for fundraising events as well as weddings.

Working on the ward at St John's Hospice.

Working on the ward at St John's Hospice.

Head of fundraising Catherine Butterworth said: “We are trying to celebrate as much as we can and really get the community behind us for our 30th year.

“We have lots of things planned and we are also hoping for a royal visit during our 30th year, after Princess Alexandra opened the hospice and also visited in our 25th year.”

Chief executive Sue McGraw said: “In 2016 we will celebrate our 30th anniversary. When you stop and think, that is a remarkable achievement. For 30 years our doors have never closed – day or night. We have provided hands-on nursing care for local people facing the most challenging time of their lives, we have supported their families and friends and we have walked alongside them during their bereavement journey for as long as they have needed us.

“I am always perplexed to read in the news about the ambition for care services to be available 24/7 because that is exactly what our small, local charity has done for three decades.

“However, we could not have done it without the amazing support of our local community.”

The Visitor teamed up with sister paper the Lancaster Guardian in 2013 to fundraise for the hospice in a bid to help secure its future of providing a vital community service that helps people and their families deal with life-limiting conditions.

The help extends far beyond nursing services with an army of volunteers offering practical help, advice and friendship both in the happy environment of the hospice and through Hospice at Home services.