After cutting the turf in June 2021 following delays due to the pandemic, local charity Willen Hospice were thrilled to be able to celebrate the opening of their new hospice building on Friday 18th November by the Lord-Lieutenant, Countess Howe.
Countess Howe, who is the King’s representative in Buckinghamshire, was received by Willen Hospice Chairman, Paul Davis, and joined by Alexander Boswell, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire; the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Councillor Amanda Marlow, Iain Stewart MP and other honoured guests involved in the project to celebrate this significant milestone in the Hospice’s 40-year history.
Countess Howe toured the Hospice and met with staff, volunteers, funders and building contractors. At the ribbon cutting, she commented: “It is a great honour to be able to recognise this milestone and thank all those who have contributed to this project coming to fruition. The final outcome is not about bricks and mortar, it’s about the many people who will benefit from it.”
Thanking those who have contributed to the project, Countess Howe added “Willen Hospice provides exceptional end of life care helping families cope and enabling patients to live in the present, and die with dignity. This new facility will help look after patients with a wider range of illnesses and help provide a richer and more meaningful life and this would not be possible without the commitment and dedication of all the staff, volunteers and supporters.”
The £4m project, entitled Building a Legacy, will transform the specialist palliative care Willen Hospice provides for the diverse and growing population of Milton Keynes. The stunning newly refurbished 15-bed In-Patient Unit, offers tranquil bedrooms and lounges with lake views where families can spend valuable time together. New state-of-the-art facilities and equipment includes a new hoist and tracking system and jacuzzi bath.
The event also unveiled the impressive new Bradbury Wellbeing Centre – an innovative space where the Hospice team can take care of people’s physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological and social needs. Holistic care is an important part of the Willen Hospice care package, supporting patients to live a fulfilling and enriched life for as long as possible. This coincides with the launch of the charity’s innovative Living Well programme which offers personalised outpatient support through education and activity groups.
Guests had the opportunity to explore the impressive new kitchen and café with stunning views over Willen Lake. A beautiful art installation was also unveiled at the event, the vision of local artist Lufeianna who was commissioned to recognise all those who have given to this important project as well as those who have played a significant part in the charity’s forty-year history.
Willen Hospice’s Chief Executive, Peta Wilkinson, commented “There is one person, in particular, who made this project possible. A humble woman who wanted to make a difference; Shirley Anne Hawes. Shirley’s gift of a legacy to Willen Hospice made this wonderful capital project a reality. Her generosity will make a difference to hundreds of local people every year. What a fantastic philanthropic legacy to leave your local community.”
The Chief Executive also paid tribute to the late Rev Leslie Jell who sadly died earlier this month. Leslie was the first Chairman and General Manager of the Hospice and as husband of the charity’s co-founder, Dorothy Jell, he was pivotal in realising her vision to provide specialist end of life care for our community