Our history: Thames Hospice milestones
The charity was formed following the merger of Thames Valley Hospice in Windsor and the Paul Bevan Cancer Foundation in Ascot in 2005.
The two well-respected and highly regarded organisations joined together to form a new organisation in the interests of better and more seamless patient care. Here is the journey that brings us to the present day.
Thames Hospice milestones
The Paul Bevan Cancer Foundation
Following the death of her husband Paul in 1981, Penny Bevan Rahming, along with her husband's very good friend, local GP Dr Geoff Cook, knew there was a lack of day-to-day local support for people following a life-limiting diagnosis and together they set about finding a solution. The Paul Bevan Cancer Foundation was formed and eventually opened at 50 The High Street, Sunninghill in 1985. Paul Bevan House was opened in Ascot on 15th May 1995 by HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, following tremendous support from the local community.
Thames Valley Hospice
Thames Valley Hospice was founded by a group of dedicated persons from St Anthony's RC Church in Slough and the Justice and Peace Group of St Joseph's RC Church in Gerrards Cross. Led by Dr Douglas Denny and his wife Pauline, the group recognised the need for a home from home for patients with a life-limiting illness, where the very best palliative care could be provided. Thames Valley Hospice was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in November 1987.
During the 1990s a number of services were developed at Thames Valley Hospice, including bereavement support, education services for professionals and Hospice at Home.
It was following her visit to the Hospice in 1991 that Anne, the Duchess of Norfolk, introduced Lady Diana to the work of Thames Valley Hospice, encouraging her to visit in 1992.
An extension was then added to the Hospice at Windsor to provide two more inpatient beds and Her Majesty the Queen made her second visit in October 2002.
The merger - Thames Hospicecare
The Paul Bevan Cancer Foundation and Thames Valley Hospice merged in 2005, to form Thames Hospicecare. With these two highly professional organisations operating just six miles apart from each other and caring for the same patients, it was a natural and obvious move to bring their services under one single organisation.
Windsor transferred its day-care service over to Ascot to provide a single place for day care services for local people with a life-limiting condition.
Thanks to the generosity of external capital funders, and to meet the growing need for its services, a new reception area was opened in Windsor which met Dr Denny's original aim of providing a welcoming and friendly environment for patients and families from the moment they enter the Hospice. This development also allowed for new counselling rooms in a quieter part of the building. The same year, the Countess of Wessex also visited the Windsor Hospice.
Ascot Community Service re-opened after a large refurbishment, enabling better facilities to provide comprehensive day services to local people with a life-limiting condition.
The year of the Jubilee and The Olympics, the Hospice celebrated 25 years. As part of the many celebrations, Dr Denny and friends attended a Founder's supper at the beautiful Cumberland Lodge, in Windsor Great Park, in June. Her Majesty the Queen made her third visit to the Hospice to commemorate this fantastic occasion.
Thames Hospice is honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Equivalent to an MBE for groups, the award recognises the hard work of the 500+ volunteers that help keep its vital services running.
Thames Hospicecare becomes Thames Hospice and launches its new brand identity. Still the same organisation and providing the same high standards of care, the rebrand took place to ensure that the charity remains sustainable in a tougher external environment and ultimately, can provide more care to more patients, now and in the future.
This year marked a milestone in the development of the Thames Hospice site, with the addition of The Sanctuary, a dedicated indoor and outdoor area in the grounds of the Windsor Hospice. This unique, spiritual area, which gives visitors, staff and volunteers somewhere to reflect, think or simply have some peace away from the Inpatient Unit, was officially opened by HRH, The Countess of Wessex, in the September.
Debbie Raven took over as Chief Executive in February this year, after two years as Director of Patient and Family Services at Thames Hospice. Debbie appointed a new Management Team to drive the Hospice’s ambitious five-year Strategy.
2016 and beyond
Following Frimley Health Foundation Trust’s announcement of their redevelopment plans for Heatherwood Hospital, the Community Therapy Unit (CTU), based at the hospital, closed in December 2016. The day therapy services provided at CTU transferred to the Windsor Hospice in January 2017, creating a single place of care for people with a life-limiting condition.
We are proud of our achievements and the amazing care we provide for patients and their loved ones, but we face some fundamental challenges. With more than 5,000 deaths per year in our community and this figure set to rise by 20% over the next 10 years, it is becoming more and more evident that we need to offer more care to more people. We have recognised this need and our 2016-2021 Strategy focuses on our expansion plans; which will enable us to deliver more services in the Hospice, in peoples’ homes and in care homes.
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