£1.5m capital campaign launched at 35th anniversary celebrations

Dr Desmond Murphy, the hospice's first consultant cuts the 35th anniversary cake. Photo by George Weech

Hundreds of Islanders have joined together to celebrate 35 years of Earl Mountbatten Hospice at special events to mark the official anniversary on Friday 13th October.
During the afternoon, a birthday party was held in the John Cheverton Centre, attended by current and past staff and volunteers, as well as patients and members of the public.
Sara Weech, Chair of Trustees, welcomed visitors and paid tribute to staff and volunteers, saying: “It is so good to see so many of you here today. You will all have different reasons for being here, and you have all made a contribution to the success of our hospice over the years.”
The hospice’s first ever full time Spiritual Care Lead, Rosie Deedes, then gave a blessing. Nigel Hartley, Chief Executive, followed with thanks to the assembled crowd: “Celebration and gratitude are the words of the day; this is a remarkable institution, with remarkable staff and volunteers, with remarkable support from the community – what a combination and what potential to keep going into the future!”
However, he also acknowledged that the next 35 years won’t be without challenge: “Many more people in the future will need access to good quality care at the end of their life, and we are working towards reaching more people in a cost effective way. This means we will be able to care for more people, and we need to change our care because people are dying over longer periods of time.”
He concluded: “Thank you for everything you do, and for everything you will continue to do in the future. Many happy returns to you and to Earl Mountbatten Hospice, where there will always be the warmest of welcomes – whoever you are and however you have lived your life.”
The hospice’s first consultant Dr Desmond Murphy was invited to cut the celebratory cake and a rapturous verse of “Happy Birthday” was sung.
Later in the evening, a fundraising reception was held to thank hospice supporters and key donors, where Nigel Hartley also announced the launch of a stand-alone £1.5m capital campaign to refurbish the last remaining, unused building on the hospice site, Oak House (pictured right), and help secure Earl Mountbatten's future for the next 35 years. He confirmed that funding has already been received from a number of sources to run several new services, but that the hospice has run out of space to house them. Among the new initiatives will be a ‘last years of life care co-ordination centre’, which will ensure that anyone needing hospice care will be known about sooner so that appropriate support can be put in place much earlier. The centre will help make sure that the estimated additional 30% of Islanders who currently don’t receive hospice care, but could benefit from it, will be able to do so in future. 
There will also be flexible social and therapeutic space available for the growing day respite services already being funded and provided for children and young people by KissyPuppy, along with KissyPuppy’s children’s and families’ bereavement services. Facilities for education and training, aimed particularly at the growing provision of hospice training for local health and social care partners will be included, so that the hospice’s expertise and knowledge in end of life care can be shared across the Island’s care homes and local communities; as well as developing a new cohort of volunteers to support people within the places that they live. Finally, the refurbished building would also be a venue from which to offer workshops and information for Islanders about death and dying. The £1.5m raised through the capital campaign would be in addition to the £7m that is needed to continue running current services across the Island.
The Lord-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight Major General Martin White gave a speech, acknowledging the many events held by the community in support of the hospice throughout its 35th anniversary year. 
As the Earl Mountbatten Community Choir performed, the huge oak tree in the grounds of the hospice was lit, bringing a close to the day’s celebrations.

Earl Mountbatten Community Choir. Photo by George Weech

"They look after you and they're so caring. I'm not frightened of dying."


Chrissie Fenton, patient