Royal visit celebrates 35 years of Earl Mountbatten Hospice

With grateful thanks to photographer Michael Dunkason for accompanying images

People being cared for and supported by Earl Mountbatten Hospice, staff, volunteers and Trustees were privileged to meet Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex during her tour of the Isle of Wight (Wednesday, 13 September 2017)
The Countess, who visited the hospice as part of its 35th anniversary celebrations, met patients and staff on the 16-bed ward and was then shown the Chelsea Garden by Alan Titchmarsh. The Countess spent time speaking with people using day services in the John Cheverton Centre, as well as meeting other guests including one of the hospice’s founders Dr Desmond Murphy, who spoke at the official opening of the hospice by HRH Duchess of Kent on 13 October 1982. The Countess then met children and their families who have been supported through the newly launched Children’s and Families Bereavement Service.
The KissyPuppy-funded service supports anyone who is experiencing loss through death and has grown significantly since it was established to now also provide music and arts therapy. Among those she met was Perdita Dusgate, from Northwood, whose husband died at the hospice. Both Perdita and her son Michael, 6, have been supported through the hospice’s bereavement service. She said: “I received counselling after my husband’s death, and my son has been supported through arts and music therapy which has allowed him to express himself without having to verbalise what he was feeling. It allowed him to get his point across through art and music; playing the drums and having fun. His confidence improved through art, and it was nice to see him being able to play and be happy again. Being able to talk to someone in a similar situation and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel is invaluable.”
Speaking about meeting the Countess, Perdita said: “She was a wonderful lady, she asked me about the services here and how well Michael had been coping after the loss of his father. She seemed very, very interested in what was going on and she listened to everything the children had to say - she made sure they had a voice and that was wonderful!”
At the end of her visit, the Countess unveiled a commemorative plaque and received a posy -containing sunflowers - from patient Brian Newman. He said: “She was a very down to earth, lovely lady. Her visit meant a lot to us.” Another patient, Pauline Osborne, remarked how much care the Countess took to speak with everyone: “She was interested in what we were doing, and took the time to speak to us all.”
Nigel Hartley, Chief Executive, said: “What a fantastic way to celebrate 35 years of our Island’s hospice, and to leave good and lasting memories for so many people who had the pleasure of meeting the Countess. She was a wonderfully warm person, who took great interest in hearing all about our work on the Isle of Wight and, in particular, how Islanders in their most challenging times are benefitting from the hard work of our staff, volunteers and community.”


"It's another's kept me in this world!"


Maureen, Patient