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A Royal Year for Hospiscare

PUBLISHED: 09:38 09 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:25 20 February 2013

Dr John Searle with the Countess

Dr John Searle with the Countess

The Countess of Wessex meets staff volunteers and patients at the new Pine Lodge centre in Tiverton

The Countess of Wessex meets staff volunteers and patients at the new Pine Lodge centre in Tiverton



Awaiting a royal visitor is exciting but prone to stir a few nerves. And yet today, in a roomful of people awaiting the Countess of Wessex, one person surprises everyone by looking the most relaxed:"102-year-old Phyllis Lewis.
Phyllis has been given the task of presenting the official bouquet after the Countess opens the new Pine Lodge centre in Tiverton for leading local charity Hospiscare.
This remarkable lady from Silverton so values Hospiscares support, that she cannot wait to tell the Countess what it means to her.
At the new day centre, transformed thanks to a magnificent 250,000 fundraising effort by the local community, Phyllis explains that it was here that she had her nails painted for the first time in her life.
I made the mistake of thinking a hospice was the last place you visited, said Phyllis, but that is not it at all.
The Countess was given a tour by chief executive Glynis Atherton, showcasing the bright and welcoming centre offering treatment rooms for complementary therapies, craftwork facilities and a fully equipped hair salon.
The royal visitor talked with trustees and Dr John Searle, who founded the charity 30 years ago. She also met Michael Hickson, the retired head gardener of the Knightshayes Garden Trust, who has volunteered his time to design a stunning new garden for Pine Lodge. For Hospiscare this is the perfect royal treat to end a special royal year.
In June the charitys 1,000 volunteers received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of their outstanding service to the community. The honour was marked with an official presentation in Exeter and a party at Powderham Castle.
The truth is we couldnt do what we do without our wonderful volunteers and fundraisers, says Glynis Atherton. The award and this visit by the Countess are the perfect thank you for an outstanding effort by the local community which makes such a difference to local patients and their families.


TERESA"DRISCOLL

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