Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially open Francis Lodge

Poignant moment as Prince William and Catherine visit 25 years after Princess Diana.

Duchess of Cambridge with little girl at Francis House

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially open Francis Lodge on October 14, 2016.
Image: Francis House

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge delighted families, volunteers and staff at Francis House Children’s Hospice when they officially opened Francis Lodge on October 14, 2016. The Lodge provides respite care for 113 young people over the age of 16, with different care and emotional needs.

The visit tied in with the 25th anniversary of the opening of the hospice in 1991 by Princess Diana.

Chief Executive of Francis House Children’s Hospice Revd David Ireland said: “This was a really special occasion for Francis House. It was 25 years to the month since Princess Diana opened Francis House.

“So it felt extremely fitting that her son, Prince William, officially opened Francis Lodge and set us off on the next stage of our journey.”

Sister Aloysius Archbishop Patrick Kelly and Princess Diana at the opening of Francis House in 1991

Sister Aloysius, Archbishop Patrick Kelly and Princess Diana at the opening of Francis House in 1991
Image: Francis House

The Duke and Duchess met families whose children are cared for by the hospice including mum Sharon Nelson and her daughter Angel who has a condition known as encephalocele meaning that part of her brain developed on the outside of her skull; and also mum Fiona Sweeney and her son Josh who has spinal cancer.

Josh said: “It was amazing them being here. It’s so good to have been invited to Francis House when they were here. The Duchess was really nice and kind.”

Fiona said: “They were so down to earth. They just make you feel so comfortable. It’s not like they think they’re better than you. They’re just lovely. It was just like speaking to anybody else, which I didn’t expect. Josh felt really comfortable. The Duchess was great with Josh.”

Members of staff who were present at Princess Diana’s opening of the hospice in 1991 also shared a poignant moment when they met the Duke and Duchess, including Clinical Lead Natalie Hands; Catholic Chaplain Monsignor Tom Mulheran; Chef Dean Jenkins; Receptionist Carmel Holland; Sister Austin and nurse Pat Whitehead.

Chief Executive David Ireland and Director of Care Gill Bevin took the royal couple on a tour of the hospice before the Duke and Duchess ended their visit by unveiling a plaque to commemorate the official opening.

Prince William and Catherine also met Chair of Trustees Mr Christopher Roberts, Francis Lodge Clinical Lead Tracey Potts as well as people who laid the Francis Lodge foundation stones including Dame Sarah Storey and husband Barney and Kate Snape who has received care from Francis House for many years.

Francis Lodge clinical lead Natalie Hands said: “Today was fabulous because Diana came here originally and they’ve come back here.

“The families that come here face such huge challenges in their lives that unless you went through it, you wouldn’t understand what the challenges are. To have someone like the royals to take time out and meet them and lend their support is a huge moral boost.”

Links

More posts

Born Survivors

A group of healthcare professionals from Oldham took on a 10 kilometre assault course and raised £1,680 for Francis House.

Thursday 23rd June 2022

Born Survivor Oldham team