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Northwood's Michael Sobell Hospice marks 40 years of caring for people with life limiting illnesses

Getwestlondon takes a look back at the history of the inspiring hospice and its staff that care for the most ill patients

The hospice team in 1989

The Michael Sobell Hospice in Northwood is marking its 40th birthday this month and is holding special events to mark the momentous occasion.

First opening its doors in 1977, the hospice has provided end of life care and support to local people, their friends, families and carers ever since.

To mark this major milestone and many years of collaboration with the hospice, getwestlondon has taken a look back at some of its defining moments during the long life of the centre.

A very influential report

Michael Sobell House opened its doors on Valentines Day, 1977

The birth of the hospice dates back to 1972 when a consultant radiotherapist, Dr Alistair Laing and Dr Eric Hughes from the National Society for Cancer Relief (NSCR) put together a report on the need for end of life care for those suffering from terminal illnesses.

The report was read by the president of the NSCR Sir Michael Sobell, who donated £1million to support four new hospices to improve care, pain control and support – and so Michael Sobell House (now hospice) was built at Mount Vernon Hospital in Northwood , and the first patients were admitted on Valentine's Day in 1977.

The hospice quickly expanded with the opening of a day centre on July 2 1982, with running wholly funded by the Friends of Michael Sobell House which raises money and resources to provide the best care possible.

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The opening of the day centre in 1982 with the Archbishop of Canterbury

First ever sponsored walk

In 1984, the first ever sponsored walk took place to raise money for the hospice.

Around 80 walkers raised £800 for the charity, and the charity funded the first aromatherapists for patients in the UK.

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Michael Sobell Hospice has now held hundreds of fundraising events.

The first ever motorised reclining chair was also made for a hospice patient that year, using a washing machine motor.

Major milestone

Another major milestone for the charity came in 1997, when the first Michael Sobell Hospice charity shop opened for business in Northwood, followed by a second store in Ruislip two years later.

A third shop opened in Eastcote in 2015.

Even more expansion

Michael Sobell Hospice in 2014(Image: Google Maps)

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In 2003, more expansion followed with the launch of an outreach service providing access to nurses for patients in their homes.

This was followed by an education programme, running training courses to community healthcare staff to help them improve their knowledge of specialist palliative care.

A year of anniversary events

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Now to mark the 40 anniversary of the opening of the hospice on Tuesday, February 14, a whole range of events are being hosted by the team.

The first of which is a silent art auction and exhibition held in partnership with St Luke's Hospice in Kenton.

Taking place on Friday (February 10), the free event will be hosted in The Orangery at Moor Park Golf Club in Rickmansworth from 10am to 7pm.

'We are delighted'

One of the artworks that will be on display at the exhibition

Event organiser from Michael Sobell Hospice Charity, Karen Shardlow, said: “We are very grateful to Moor Park Golf Club for providing this beautiful setting to help kick off our special anniversary celebrations.

“This exhibition is a great opportunity for people to visit the building, which is not usually open to the general public, and to be treated to some inspirational artwork by the artists taking park.

“We are delighted to be able to show off their work whilst raising money for two very important local causes, which have contributed to seventy years of hospice care in the local community.”

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Tell your story

Anthea Turner is backing one of the hospice's 40th anniversary campaigns

The "My First Kiss" campaign is also being launched to mark 40 years of hospice care, with the help of television presenter Anthea Turner.

Supporters are being encouraged to share a few words about their first kiss, a memorable experience, story or anecdote about Michael Sobell Hospice.

You can share your story by filling out the special form available at Michael Sobell Hospice charity shops, or the hospice itself.

Alternatively visit the charity's Facebook page here.

If you want to donate £40 to the charity in its 40 year or to find out more about the host of anniversary events taking place throughout the year, visit its website.

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