TODAY the Hospice of the Good Shepherd is marking 30 years of caring for seriously ill people and their families in Chester, Deeside and Ellesmere Port.

The hospice in Backford was officially opened on April 11, 1989, by Diana, the Princess of Wales.

Since then, thousands of pounds have been raised in the community to support the work of the hospice.

Chester and District Standard:

Volunteers, staff and nurses along with the hospice's Chief Executive Margaret Wright and Chairman of Trustees Robert Mee

The history of the hospice goes back beyond thirty years. Following a meeting of the Chester Lions Club in April 1983, a call went out to the local community to support the founding of a local Hospice. The Chester and Ellesmere Port Hospice Care Committee was formed in September of that year.

Following years of fundraising by local fundraising support groups, of which some are still fundraising today, Backford Vicarage was purchased and converted into the Hospice we still know today.

Today, the hospice's twitter account said: "Today marks our 30th Anniversary!

"The Hospice was officially opened on 11th April 1989 by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, escorted by the Duchess of Westminster, our Patron and watched by many supporters, staff and volunteers."

The first matron of the hospice was Anne Teaney.

At the time, she wrote: “We opened our doors to the first patient on February 6th 1989, truly a red letter day for we nurses, but for those who had worked so hard raising the money for the Hospice it must have seemed like a dream come true.”

Chester and District Standard:

The hospice was opened 30 years ago by Princess Diana

Over the past three decades, the Hospice has helped thousands of local people with life-limiting illnesses.

The basis of what the Hospice does remains the same as it was in 1989.

An excerpt from a thank you letter sent by a patient in 1989 said: “Many thanks for your help in the last few days, you have been a great help in the last days” delivers the same message we receive today from patients and families we continue to support.

Pat Tuohy-Jones, whose mother Marjorie Tuohy recently received care from the hospice, said: “My mum came to the Hospice in December 2018 and the care she received was amazing and couldn’t have been better.”

One patient at the Hospice said: “You’re made to feel welcome and get treated like a person not a patient. It’s almost like being at home.”

The Hospice was also delighted to receive praise from the Care Quality Commission following a letter they had received: “I have received communication from a member of the public who used your service recently. They provided some very positive feedback on your organisation and the care provided by yourselves. I just wanted to echo their praise to you on the service you give and for all the hard work you do.”

Hospice care has developed and changed over the years, but even after 30 years the Hospice still faces very similar challenges as it did when it first opened.

Frank Rickards in ‘Reflections of an ex-Chairman of Appeals’ in the News Review covering the official opening and the visit of the Princess of Wales in 1989 said: “At some more generous time the contribution from central funding (NHS) will be more in line with the majority of Hospices… We should be able to run the place without anxiety.”

It now costs over £4 million per year to run the Hospice with only 24% of our funding from the NHS. The remaining income is generated through fundraising, donations, events and corporate partnerships.

Caroline Siddall, Director of Income Generation, said: “As we continue our care into and beyond our 30th anniversary I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved over this time to help keep our doors open. Every year the challenges of raising the funds become more and more difficult. We rely more now on our local community than ever before. If you are thinking of doing a fundraising event please do consider supporting the Hospice.”

You can sign up to any of the fundraising events to help raise money for the Hospice via or call 01244 851 811, including the upcoming annual Chester Sparkle walk sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb.