A thanksgiving service was organised to mark 30 years to the day since St Catherine’s Hospice opened its doors to patients and families.
On April 29 1985 day therapy began at the Lostock Hall hospice, run by nurse Bernadette Baxter - who continues to work for the charity today.
Just over two months later, on July 8, the in-patient unit opened with 12 beds, which was later extended to 19.
To mark the milestone and celebrate three decades of the charity, a thanksgiving service was held welcoming staff and supporters past and present.
Pupils from Lancaster Lane Primary School in Leyland performed two songs - True Colours and Walking on Sunshine - as part of the service, which culminated with the cutting of an extra special birthday cake. The cake had been designed and made by award-winning cake decorator Andrea Ousby, who runs her own business Celebration Cakes and Sugarcraft from her Freckleton home.
She was showing her support for the Give A Gift campaign - a 30th anniversary appeal run by the hospice in conjunction with the Lancashire Evening Post which highlights 30 different ways individuals, schools, businesses and groups can show their support and ‘give a gift’ during 2015.
Among the guests were trustee John Turner and his wife Mary. John was one of the original signatories to the founding document which established St Catherine’s Hospice as a charity in 1981. Both were excited back then about the prospect of something similar to serve the people of Central Lancashire. And when a public meeting was called in February 1981 to discuss the proposals further, it was clear their enthusiasm was shared by many more in the local community.
John remembers: “Ten minutes before we were due to start, we were collecting chairs from rooms all around to seat everyone who came. Dr Moya Cole, from St Ann’s, talked to us about her vision of hospice care and, amid tremendous enthusiasm, St Catherine’s was born.”
Bernadette, who now works between the nursing and medical teams co-ordinating care, and Lorna Wastell - the current in-patient unit manager who joined the team in 1985 - also attended the thanksgiving celebration.
Chief Executive Stephen Greenhalgh said: “St Catherine’s is all about people – those whom we care for, those providing care or those fundraising or volunteering.
“Over 30 years we remember the commitment of tens of thousands of people who have made life in central Lancashire much better as a result of their dedication and self-sacrifice.
“We can also remember the fun, laughter and enjoyment that we have had along this wonderful journey, that is continuing to inspire us all to go further and to do more.”
Cliff Hughes, chairman of the board of trustees who has been involved with St Catherine’s since 1982, added: “It has been wonderful to celebrate the incredible achievements of so many at this thanksgiving service, as we look ahead to the next 30 years and beyond.”