St Christopher’s Hospice visited by their Royal Patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra

Categories: People & Places.

St Christopher’s Hospice was honoured to receive a visit from its patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady of Ogilvy, yesterday.

The Princess was welcomed to St Christopher’s by new Chief Executive Helen Simmons and Chairman of the Board Neil Goulden, who were joined by Clinical Team Lead Katie Grace on a tour of the hospice’s wards, where Her Royal Highness met a number of patients and their families and friends and wished them all a Merry Christmas.

Following her tour of the wards, the Princess enjoyed a snowy stroll in the grounds where she observed one of the ‘Tree of Trees’, which was gifted to St Christopher’s as part of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier in the summer. As a centrepiece of the Jubilee festivities, the Tree of Trees stood tall outside Buckingham Palace as a message of hope, regeneration and optimism to our nation and the world.

St Christopher’s received one of the trees after being nominated by Sir Steve Bullock DL, and was awarded the honour in recognition of the vital contribution that the hospice makes to its local community.

IT Support Administrator and part-time Garden Volunteer Nick White and Volunteer Terry Hammond originally collected the tree alongside Helen Simmons in a ceremony back in October, bringing it back to St Christopher’s to be planted, and both joined Her Royal Highness yesterday to speak about their experience and share how much it meant to be involved.

         Photo by Rachel Manns

Photo by Rachel Manns

To round off the afternoon, the Princess was invited in to St Christopher’s Centre for Awareness and Response to End of life (CARE), where afternoon tea was served and Her Royal Highness was met by Campaign Director Philippa Kelham, who then introduced groups of St Christopher’s benefactors, supporters and volunteers.

The Princess joined guests at every table to share greetings and stories of everyone’s connection to St Christopher’s, whilst pianist Mark Dowling played a selection of Christmas carols and hymns.

Finally, Her Royal Highness signed the St Christopher’s visitors’ book and was presented with flowers by Volunteer Sue Gilder, before saying her goodbyes and thanking everyone for such a warm and festive reception.

Speaking yesterday afternoon, Helen Simmons, Chief Executive at St Christopher’s, said “We are so pleased to have been able to welcome Her Royal Highness today, and very much hope the Princess enjoyed her time at the Hospice. Everyone here always looks forward to her visits so much, and we wish her and the rest of the Royal Family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

As one volunteer put it; “Today was such a special day. Everyone here, from patients to guests, will remember it for such a long time.”

To find out more about St Christopher’s Hospice, please visit


About St Christopher’s Hospice

  • We were founded by Dame Cicely Saunders, who started the global hospice movement with the opening of St Christopher’s in 1967.
  • We are a charity, and we provide care and services free of charge. Though we are partially funded by the NHS, the majority of our running costs are very generously met by public donations. Each year, we need to raise at least £15million.
  • Our vision is of a world in which all dying people and those close to them have access to care and support, whenever and wherever they need it.
  • Our goal is to help people live well until they die, and support those affected by the loss of a friend or relative. We know that each person is unique and we tailor our care to meet social, emotional and spiritual needs, as well as manage physical symptoms.
  • We strongly believe that everyone should have access to the best care at the end of their lives and through a blend of expert practice, education and research we work with people across the world to improve and develop hospice care.
  • We usually have over 1,300 people under our care at any one time, and last year we provided care and support to over 5,000 patients and 2,000 families and carers across South London, both at home, out in the community and in the hospice.
  • We have over 500 dedicated staff and over 1,000 amazing volunteers.
  • You can support the hospice by donating, volunteering or shopping at one of our 26 local high street shops.
  • You can find our website by searching “” online, and we are also on social media – search @StChrisHospice on Twitter and Instagram.

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