A major milestone has been reached in the building of the new hospice for Norfolk and Waveney. 

Nearly 80 guests gathered at the new Priscilla Bacon Hospice site, adjacent to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, to watch beer being poured over its roof. 

Dr Sarah Gough, palliative care consultant, and Charlotte Shawe, quality matron for palliative care from the existing Priscilla Bacon Lodge, did the honours – a tradition for a topping-out ceremony. 

Eastern Daily Press: The new Priscilla Bacon Lodge building from the skyThe new Priscilla Bacon Lodge building from the sky (Image: Mike Page)

The ceremony is a traditional event for major construction projects, meaning that the building has reached its maximum height and is a water-tight shell.   

Trustees for the Priscilla Bacon Hospice Charity, charity partners, and members of the construction team, as well as staff and volunteers for the charity attended the event. 

Robert Carter, chairman of the hospice charity, said: “For over 40 years, exceptional care has been delivered by the medical team at Priscilla Bacon Lodge at the Colman Hospital site. 

“The topping-out of the new Priscilla Bacon Lodge is a significant day for the charity.  

“We need to thank all those who, on the wider build team, have played a role in the design and construction of this magnificent new hospice.” 

READ MORE: Awards support new Priscilla Bacon Hospice

The new hospice is looking to the future and will be a platform for education and research supporting improvements in palliative and end-of-life care locally and nationally. Working with the University of East Anglia Medical School, future generations of doctors and nurses will be trained in the specialism of end-of-life care.   

By collaborating with partners on the Norwich Research Park, the new hospice will take part in research projects which will help shape the future of palliative and end-of-life care, and a major research conference is already booked for 2023.

Eastern Daily Press: Priscilla Bacon Lodge's topping-out ceremony where Robert Carter addressed the guestsPriscilla Bacon Lodge's topping-out ceremony where Robert Carter addressed the guests (Image: Priscilla Bacon Hospice Charity)

Alister Broadberry, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in the Eastern Counties, said: “The importance of end-of-life care is something that sits close to the hearts of the entire team, through our own personal experiences. 

“Sitting on beautiful fields on the doorstep of the Norfolk and Norwich University site, it will provide the perfect home for high quality end-of-life care, with the wellness of its users at the centre." 

Bringing a new hospice to Norfolk and Waveney 

The Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich was built 40 years ago, following a county-wide fundraising appeal led by Priscilla, Lady Bacon. 

A 18-month building project to construct the new Priscilla Bacon Lodge commenced in February 2022.  

Following a three-year fundraising campaign, the charity is in the process of raising the final £750,000 of the £12.5 million target necessary to complete the construction. 

Eastern Daily Press: Lady Priscilla BaconLady Priscilla Bacon (Image: Bacon family)

Set on an eight-acre site, surrounded by gardens and grounds, the new hospice aims to make a remarkable difference to the delivery of end-of-life care in the area. 

The new facility has greater capacity for inpatient beds, along with a wellbeing centre with a gym and therapy rooms. A bigger day unit with significantly more therapy and counselling rooms, and a hub to coordinate virtual-ward services for people being cared for in their own homes, will enable more people to receive care and support through their life-limiting illnesses. 

Sandra Dinneen, the charity’s strategic project advisor said: “The generosity of fundraisers, donors and Trusts have enabled us to turn the dream of a new specialist facility into a reality.”