Patients, staff, fundraisers and volunteers at the heart of bid for new £12.5m hospice for Norfolk
- Credit: Archant
The ambitious bid to raise £12.5m to build a much-needed new hospice for Norfolk got off to a roaring start on Wednesday night, as emotional stories were told to underline the importance of the venture.
In central Norfolk there are currently only 16 specialist palliative beds - all at Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich - when it is recommended the area should have between 41 and 59.
So there is an urgent need for expansion and modernisation as the population of Norfolk has grown threefold since it was built 40 years ago.
It is hoped that will come in the shape of a new state-of-the-art Priscilla Bacon Hospice, built close to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
MORE: Norfolk legacy to continue as £12.5m appeal launched for new hospiceAnd around 300 supporters packed the John Innes Centre on Wednesday night to officially launch the bid to raise £12.5m to build the facility.
Speeches were heard from Lady Bacon, whose mother-in-law the current lodge and new hospice are named after, as well as Priscilla, Lady Bacon's, son Sir Nicholas who presented The Rt Reverend Graham James, Lord Bishop of Norwich with a snowdrop named after his mother to thank him for his service to the charity.
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Mark Nicholas, chief executive of the charity, said the venture was all about people, from those who use the service, to fundraisers, staff, and volunteers.
For 28 years Rachel Adriano owned restaurant Adriano's Trattoria in London Street, Norwich, with her husband Armando 'Andy' Adriano.
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But in 2010, Mr Adriano was diagnosed with terminal cancer; a diagnosis that was to change their lives forever.
Part way through Mr Adriano's palliative care treatment, the pair were made aware of the Rowan Day Unit at Priscilla Bacon Lodge and Mr Adriano went every Friday for the next two years.
Mrs Adriando said: 'What a wonderful place it was. Volunteers working alongside clinicians, nurses, health care assistants, occupational therapists. The atmosphere was so special – humour, love, kindness, time for all, the list goes on. I was just in awe of everyone helping in their own way to make the lives of the patients coming from their homes every week easier. They took part in activities if they wanted to. It wasn't sad; except, as expected, when there were deaths.'
Mr Adriano died in Priscilla Bacon Lodge in March 2014. Mrs Adriano was offered bereavement counselling there, a year later, she decided to volunteer at the lodge
'It has been the happiest, most rewarding thing I have ever done,' she said. 'I love seeing our patients, making them welcome and comfortable. We do activities, I'm not an arty person but I try and often patients teach me things.'
In 2017, when she learnt about the plans to build a new hospice and the need to raise funds and awareness for the campaign, she wanted to find out how she could help.
She discovered there was a lack of collection tins placed in the county and took on the challenge of upping the number, and has placed over 200 so far, in a wide variety of locations.
• To donate, visit www.priscillabaconhospice.org.uk/support-us/donate/ or to donate offline contact Priscilla Bacon Hospice on firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to 9-11 Drayton High Road, Norwich NR8 6AH.