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Chester Lions Club celebrates 30 year link with Hospice of the Good Shepherd

Club members played crucial role in setting up hospice at Backford

Members of Chester Lions and Ellesmere Port Lions were given the opportunity to preview the new day care facility at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, called The Living Well Centre.

The Lions Clubs, together with matched funding from Lions Clubs International Foundation, have furnished and fitted out the lounge, dining, craft, clinical and complementary therapy rooms at a cost of £48,500.

For more than 30 years there has been a link between Chester Lions Club and the hospice.

At a Chester Lions Club ladies dinner in 1983 MacMillan Nurses gave a talk and when asked they indicated that there was no hospice in the immediate Chester area they could use as a base.

Lions community service chairman Malcolm Smith and past president Noel Rouse called a meeting in Chester Town Hall in October 1983 inviting GPs, pharmacists, hospital, fire service, police, ambulance, voluntary bodies, etc to review the potential for setting up a hospice.

The recently retired matron of the City Hospital, Vivienne Smith, agreed to chair an action group with Noel Rouse a key member.

The first meeting was held on October 31, 1983 with Derek Healiss named as official Lions representative (later to become chairman of the hospice).

Over the five years from 1983 to 1988 money was raised and a site chosen at Backford for the hospice to operate from 1989. The original proposal was for a 15 bed unit with day care provision.

The original reception area/lounge was named The Noel Rouse Room to commemorate this Lions involvement until his death in October 1984.

The original lounge became the day care area over time and was fitted out afresh as the Chester Lions millennium project in 2000. In 2004 cupboard units were added for arts and crafts materials and in 2007 new curtains and electric reclining chairs were provided by the Lions.

The Chester Lions 50th anniversary project in 2010 provided for the refurbishment of the hospice chapel and conversion to a multi-faith centre.

Ellesmere Port Lions have also provided support to the hospice over a considerable period of time including gardening equipment, furnishings, syringe drivers, MacMillan Nurses support, etc.

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