Duke of Gloucester visits Cumbria to mark 25-year Hospice at Home anniversary

  • Watch as the Duke of Gloucester visited Cumbria to mark the 25th anniversary of Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland

A royal visitor has been welcomed in Cumbria to mark the 25th anniversary of Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland.

The Duke of Gloucester - the late Queen's vousin - visited Askam near Penrith to learn more about the work done by the hospice and to join in the celebrations.

He praised the work of the volunteers and staff like Nicola Irving, who now volunteers with the charity after her husband died at home five years ago following a battle with motor neurone disease.

The Duke of Gloucester arriving in Askam. Credit: ITV Border

Nicola said: "It means everything. When you're not well, you do just want to be at home.

"And because of the nature of Paul's illness, he had motor neurone disease. It is such a specialist condition hospitals aren't set up to care to something like that. And it really is sort of really focused on dying.

"To be brutally honest, service hospice home meant that Paul could live and live as much as it possibly could at home, which was really important."

One of the people who cared for her husband, Paul, was carer Diane Hollier.

She said: "It's very important to keep people out of hospital.

"Obviously to release beds at the hospital, but as well for people to die at home. It is very emotional sometimes, but we wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't get emotional. But then sometimes you can go in and all you do is laugh.

"It's you know, it's just wonderful. We are very lucky that these people trust us to come in and care for their loved ones. It's a privilege."

Vivien is one of a number of people who provide a service to those who need it most. Credit: ITV Border

Hospice at Home started with 38 families in 1997. Last year, that number was at 928.

Vivien Woolf, whose daughter died aged 30, said: "Well, for the last four days of a life, we had 24 hour nursing help.

"They're absolutely amazing. They would be there all the drinks you needed, the processing. They were telling us what they were doing. It was absolutely marvelous. You couldn't have us in a strange kind of way, a better way to go.

"She's surrounded by us and the the help that she got there. It should be celebrated because they do such a wonderful job."

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