His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales brought smiles to the faces of patients and families being cared for by Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice on Friday 14th December during a special pre-Christmas visit.
The Prince of Wales has been Patron of Sue Ryder for 32 years. Last Friday, he spent the morning meeting patients receiving expert and compassionate palliative care at our Gloucestershire-based Leckhampton Court Hospice, along with volunteers, supporters, Sue Ryder Nurses and hospice support staff.
His Royal Highness sat alongside patients in the Day Hospice art room as they were busily creating Christmas crafts.
Charles Bishop, 31, from Cheltenham, was joined by his partner Lara Elliott and daughter Hollie Bishop, eight, at the table.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to meet His Royal Highness," they said. "He was a true gentleman and it was an extra special moment for Hollie who was really excited to meet him as it’s her birthday this weekend. It’s a special memory that will last forever.”
"A dream come true"
Day Hospice patient Beverly Creary, 72, from Gloucester also spoke with His Royal Highness.
“It was a dream come true to meet His Royal Highness," she said. "It’s the first time I have met a Royal and I was so excited. I wanted to tell him how wonderful his charity work is, and I also told him how warm and welcoming all the staff at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice are. I am so happy right now. It’s really brought on all the Christmas feelings for me!”
Mother and daughter Chris Else and Tracey Leach added: “His Royal Highness made us feel like he had all the time in the world to speak to us. It was lovely to meet him.”
"I told him how different Leckhampton Court's care is"
During the visit, His Royal Highness also spent time at the bedsides of patients in our hospice’s specialist inpatient unit – the only one in Gloucestershire – speaking individually with patients and their families.
Victor Neave was painting in his room when he met His Royal Highness.
“His Royal Highness was very easy to talk to," Victor said. "I was really pleased he complimented me on the skill of my painting of a spaniel.”
His Royal Highness also spent time meeting Maria Brown and her son, Joseph.
“His Royal Highness was very interested in knowing how I am finding it here in the hospice," Maria recounted. "I told him how different it is to any other care setting.”
A special occasion
The visit was an extra special one for our charity as we had invited His Royal Highness to mark the occasion of his 70th birthday year by planting a Yellow Norwegian Maple within the hospice grounds.
The commemorative tree and plaque has pride of place in the hospice’s new woodland walk. This has recently been made more accessible with a wheelchair-friendly all-weather walkway, opening up the beautiful landscape to all patients and visitors thanks to a donation from The Charles Irving Charitable Trust.
“We are delighted His Royal Highness made a pre-Christmas visit to spend time with our patients, families, volunteers, supporters and staff," beamed Hospice Director Elise Hoadley. "He has been visiting us for over 30 years as our Patron, and his kindness means so much. His visits are a very special occasion and create special memories for everyone here.”
Before departing, His Royal Highness met with hospice supporters and donors, whose vital assistance means our hospice can continue to be there for local families when it matters.
School children from Prestbury St Mary's Church of England School gathered in the courtyard as His Royal Highness departed, performing Christmas carols to the cheers and waves of parents, family and friends.
Learn more about Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice
Our Leckhampton Court Hospice gives palliative and bereavement care through its specialist inpatient unit, day hospice, hospice at home and family support teams.