HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO launches 35th anniversary celebrations at Mount Edgcumbe Hospice

HRH The Earl of Wessex has today (Thursday 17 September) visited Cornwall Hospice Care’s Mount Edgcumbe Hospice in St Austell to mark its 35th anniversary. During an hour long stay he met patients, members of staff and volunteers who work for the charity and those who have shared their personal stories as part of a special project aimed at helping people understand what goes on in Cornwall’s adult hospices.

Prince Edward was met outside the hospice by children from Mount Charles School waving Cornish and Union flags. After greeting them with a cheery smile, he had a brief chat with the group who were all members of the school council. One pupil told him she’d had to miss her favourite lesson to come along.

Mount Edgcumbe Hospice is the legacy of a remarkable woman, Mrs Enid Dalton-White MBE who led the campaign to raise the funds needed to provide the first ever hospice in Cornwall. Her determined fundraising started when she opened her gardens in the village of Polruan, to the public. With enormous commitment and dedication she worked tirelessly to find the money and was finally rewarded on 6 October 1980, when the hospice opened its doors to patients. Today Prince Edward was shown a special travelling exhibition that tells the story of Mount Edgcumbe and met two of the charity’s Trustees, Tony and Margaret Geake who gave the land on which the hospice is built.

After visiting a number of in-patients, Prince Edward then met with many of the people who have shared their stories over the last year as part of Cornwall Hospice Care’s #HospiceStories project. They included Diane Meteyard and her son and daughter, Matt and Becca. Their husband and father suffered a number of brain tumours and was cared for by nursing teams from Cornwall Hospice Care, eventually passing away at St Julia’s Hospice in Hayle. Diane, who also presented him with a basket of Cornish gifts, said he was charming to talk to;

“He told us we had been brave to share our stories for the benefit of the charity and was very easy to talk to. We were delighted to meet him.”

In a short speech, Prince Edward thanked everyone for sharing their stories, congratulating them for taking part to help both the hospices and those who might need them in the future. He wished everyone good luck for the next 35 years and there were cheers and

clapping as he cut a 35th anniversary cake with great flourish. The Boscastle Buoys who sang shanties throughout the visit, then gave a rousing rendition of ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’.

Prince Edward was accompanied by Mrs Liz Anderson, Chair of the Trustees at Cornwall Hospice Care, who said the visit had been a huge success;

“There was such a lovely atmosphere and Prince Edward enjoyed meeting everyone, in fact he seemed to spend time talking to all those who had gathered for the visit. The patients were delighted to meet him and he also spent time chatting with one of our story tellers, George Watts who we have been caring for for 5 years now. This really was a splendid way to start our 35th anniversary celebrations at Mount Edgcumbe, and of course we will be marking the 10th anniversary of Cornwall Hospice Care, the charity which brought both adult hospices together, next April.”