The opening of the Michael Sobell Hospice has been helped after receiving royalty approval.
Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia has joined the 10,000 people who are campaigning to reopen the Northwood hospice.
Princess Katherine offered her support by attending the public meeting aimed to answer the community’s cries.
Caroline Morison, the managing director of the Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group, confirmed the reopening of the hospice, along with other organisations, was an integral part of their immediate plans.
It is hoped that the hospice will reopen – dependant on funding and employment of critical staff members – by April this year.
Ever since the Princess Katarina Palliative Care Centre, modelled on the Michael Sobell Hospice, was opened in Serbia in 2014, Princess Katherine has maintained a strong interest in ‘the mother hospice’.
Terry Dean, who created the petition, had impressed the Princess when she heard over 10,000 people had signed his petition.
Terry, who has been a volunteer for the hospice since his wife sadly passed away there, read a powerful speech at the meeting.
He said: “When the Hospice was closed six months ago, I found that being a lowly volunteer working for the Michael Sobell Hospice Charity gave me a distinct advantage.
“I started an online petition, ‘Save the Michael Sobell Hospice’, to try and bring the closure and the facts surrounding it to the attention of the local community.
“I had not realised, until the petition took off, quite how much the hospice meant to so many people. The petition now has over 10,000 signatures.
“The last few days and moments of a person’s life can be among the most precious for any family. As Dame Cicely Saunders said: ‘How people die remains in the memory of those who live on.’
“But it is not just about the building. Anyone who has had the experience of watching a loved-one slip away, while they stood helplessly by, knows how important it is to have access, not just too proper hospice facilities and staff with the right training, but to staff for whom their work is a vocation.
“It takes a very special person to want to be an end of life doctor, nurse or counsellor; it is a calling. It takes a team who not only have the aptitude, but also the time, to develop a relationship with the patients and their families. It requires calm and tranquillity in the right sort of environment; it is not on a busy hospital ward.”
Terry was delighted of the outcome of the meeting and thanks Princess Katherine for her help and support throughout the campaign.
He said: “I am delighted that, in our own community, key organisations are now working together towards reopening the Michael Sobell Hospice; it shows that enlightened decision-makers are truly prepared to listen to the voice of the people.”