Skip to content

HRH Princess Alexandra returns for 40th anniversary

14 February 2020

The Princess officially opened the Birmingham Hospice in 1979 and on Thursday 13 February, she returned to unveil a prestigious Blue Plaque to honour the charity’s founder

HRH Princess Alexandra visited the Selly Park-based charity on Thursday 13 February to round off celebrations marking Birmingham St Mary’s 40th anniversary.

The Princess – who has a keen interest in health and social care – was greeted by the charity’s nursing director, Helen O’Halloran, who took her on a guided tour of the Hospice’s facilities. There she met the expert team of doctors, nurses and more who provide care, as well as joined patients and volunteers in the Day Hospice to see therapeutic arts in action.

Lynne Stephenson was just one of the patients who met and chatted with the Princess on Thursday. She said: “It was lovely to see HRH Princess Alexandra visit the Hospice today, especially as she opened the Hospice 40-years-ago. She wonderfully chatty, and it was really nice that she took the time to speak to everyone.

“I have been a patient at Birmingham St Mary’s for over two months and during that time, it has made a positive on impact to my life. As I’m sure the Princess would have seen during her visit today, the Hospice is a wonderful place full of love, laughter and life.”

The Princess also spoke to Eileen McCann – a dedicated volunteer who has been supporting the Hospice since 2011. Eileen is a collection box volunteer, in which she encourages local shops, supermarkets, pubs and cafes to raise money for the charity by hosting collection tins.

Eileen said: “It was wonderful to welcome Princess Alexandra to the Hospice and show her how much the Hospice has grown over the past 40 years. As a fundraising volunteer, I enjoyed sharing with her the success of our collection box scheme, which has raised over £230k since it started in 2012. Today has been a really special day and will be one that I remember fondly.”

The visit took place 40 years after the Princess officially opened the Hospice on 10 July 1979. The royal returned to honour the charity’s founder, Monica Pearce, by unveiling a Blue Plaque – which was awarded by the Birmingham Civic Society – in her honour.

Helen O’Halloran, nursing director at the Hospice, added: “It’s been a real privilege to welcome Princess Alexandra to our Hospice and show her how much we’ve adapted and evolved our services – both at the Hospice and out in the community – to meet patient needs over the last four decades.

“We were delighted that the Princess was able to unveil Monica’s Pearce’s Blue Plaque, recognising our founder’s unwavering commitment to transform care across our city and beyond. We’re incredibly proud of our history, so thank you to Princess Alexandra and the Birmingham Civic Society for choosing to honour Monica Pearce’s wonderful legacy today.”

Birmingham St Mary’s supports people to live well with life-limiting illness, by helping them to remain comfortable, pain-free and as independent as they can be. It can also support family members, loved ones and carers too.

To find out more about the Hospice’s 40-year history, please take a read here.