In the 1970s doctors involved in the treatment of Cancer wanted to establish a unit in Cornwall, which specialised in the relief of pain for patients. They discussed those needs with the Plymouth and Cornwall Cancer Fund, whose president was Lady Mount Edgcumbe.
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.
Enid had nursed two husbands through cancer and was passionate about providing the right care. 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.
On Thursday 17 September 2015 HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO visited Mount Edgcumbe Hospice 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.
Prince Edward was shown a special exhibition that told the story of Mount Edgcumbe and met two of the charity’s Trustees, Margaret Geake and her late husband Tony, 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 shared their stories 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 dying 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’.