'A day none of us will forget' - Princess Anne visits Lister Hospital

Princess Anne meeting volunteers at Lister Hospital in Stevenage

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal spoke with Butterfly Volunteer Service members when she visited Lister Hospital in Stevenage - Credit: East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited Stevenage's Lister Hospital on Friday to present an award on behalf of The Queen to volunteers who help support dying patients and their loved ones.

Princess Anne honoured the Butterfly Volunteer Service with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss, who is the Queen’s representative in Hertfordshire, joined Her Royal Highness for the presentation, and both spent time during their visit talking to Butterfly volunteers and hospital staff.

Set up in 2016, the Butterfly service has grown each year, with trained volunteers working alongside the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust’s specialist palliative care team to ensure dying patients, and their loved ones, are supported in the last few days of life. To date, the volunteers have facilitated over 7,000 visits.

Angela Fenn, who coordinates the service with help from donations made to the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals’ Charity, jointly received the award from The Princess Royal alongside volunteer Bernadette Blain.

Afterwards, Angela said: “The news in June 2020 that our wonderful team of volunteers had won such a prestigious award was a real highlight in what was such a difficult year.

“For The Princess Royal to present the award makes it even more special, and is a tribute to the incredible compassion our volunteers have shown to patients who are in their last hours or days of life at Lister Hospital.”

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Ellen Schroder, chair of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, said: “The Butterfly volunteers provide an invaluable service at Lister Hospital, providing companionship to patients at the end of their lives when loved ones cannot be there, as well as supporting the family themselves.

“This award is richly deserved and I wish to thank Her Royal Highness and the lord lieutenant for making this a day none of us will ever forget.”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer you can email butterfly.enh-tr@nhs.net. To make a donation to support the service, visit enhhcharity.org.uk/appeal/butterflyservice.