St Nicholas Hospice Care held a special service yesterday to mark the 30 years it has dedicated to caring for people in West Suffolk and Thetford.
On May 1, 1984, the hospice’s first nurse started caring for people facing life-shortening illnesses and their families.
That one nurse was swiftly joined by two colleagues and gradually the charity grew.
Now, St Nicholas Hospice Care has 150 employees, 650 volunteers and last year supported more than 2,500 people.
Patients, families, staff, volunteers and hospice supporters were invited to yesterday’s service, which was held at the hospice, in Hardwick Lane, Bury St Edmunds.
It was led by Canon Richard Norburn, hospice president, who spearheaded the efforts to launch the hospice more than three decades ago.
He said: “We’ve looked back on the last 30 years with thanks and now we look forward with hope and confidence.”
He was supported by hospice chaplain Charles Amoah, The Rev Sue Nutt, Father Philip Shryane and The Rev Paul Hills.
The Rev Hills said: “It’s a great privilege to be here on this special occasion. There is such a lot to celebrate from these 30 years. It’s about simple human kindness and compassion.”
Readings were given by chief executive Barbara Gale, chairman of the board of trustees Adian Williams, hospice staff members Gill Ranson, Roger Whomes and Pippa Wilding, trustee Malcolm Leith and supporters Sharon Waters and Rita Munns.
Mrs Gale recalled the words of the founder of the modern hospice movement, Dame Cicely Saunders, who said: “You matter because you are you - and you matter to the very last moment of your life.”
More than 70 people attended the service, which also included prayers and hymns, and an informal reception afterwards.