Louise Hamilton Centre: dream becomes reality as £1.5m palliative care centre is completed
10:08 28 December 2012
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012
This is the poignant moment when a mother first visited the completed palliative care centre named after her daughter, who died of breast cancer.
The £1.5m Louise Hamilton Centre dream is now a reality, after builders finished work and handed it to the James Paget University Hospital (JPH).
Campaigners have hailed fundraisers for making this possible, after efforts began in 2006.
And Roberta Lovick, mother of the late Louise Hamilton, took her first steps in the new centre wearing a pair of her daughter’s shoes - so the first steps would be Louise’s.
Mrs Lovick said: “It’s very emotional, as what was a dream is now a reality. I couldn’t have asked for any more. It’s what the people of this area deserve.”
Gorleston woman Louise Hamilton was born in Gorleston in 1969 and was a pupil at Wroughton and Lynn Grove schools before she went to Bristol University and graduated with a degree in languages.
At the age of just 26, Louise found she had breast cancer.
She died aged 28.
And her mother has been a leading voice for Palliative Care East, determined to improve the support available for those affected by terminal illness on the east coast.
“It’s what I’ve always wished for for the people of this area,” she said. “It’s warm, homely and colourful.
“They’ve got a wonderful building and it’s not only the building but what will happen inside.”
As she took in the light and airy lounge, with an arcing wall as its centrepiece, she could not contain her delight.
“My face is aching from smiling,” said Mrs Lovick. “I know they will be pleased with what they see - nothing has been skimped. I’m so grateful for that and I know if Louise was here she would be so proud of the centre.”
She was overwhelmed by the hard work fundraisers have put in to get the project to where it is today - the completed centre was handed over to the hospital on December 14 and is now ready to welcome people through its doors.
“I still have to keep nipping myself as it doesn’t seem like it’s real,” revealed Mrs Lovick. “I’m just so grateful to all the people who worked so hard to make it possible.”
Furniture and computers are being brought in now the build is complete, and staff are completing training and familiarisation before services are introduced next month.
The centre and outreach service is a partnership between NHS Norfolk and Waveney, local county councils and the voluntary sector; including funds from the Palliative Care East appeal.
It will bring together a wide range of organisations that can help support patients who are living with a life-limiting illness and also help their loved ones.
John Hemming, chairman of Palliative Care East (PCE), has been on board since day one - and was chairman of the JPH when plans were unveiled in 2006.
And he was over the moon when he saw the end product.
“It’s stunning,” he said.“I think it’s a benchmark for the quality of care we’re going to produce for long-term conditions.
“It’s so different from a normal hospital building and will provide excellent care.
“It’s testament to the faith of the people in Great Yarmouth and Waveney who donated £1.5m to get it built.”
And he said ultimately the Louise Hamilton Centre will provide better palliative care for patients, their families and their carers on the east coast.