The Queen has officially opened the new Norfolk Hospice Tapping House facility at Hillington this morning.
Dozens of invited guests and a small crowd of wellwishers greeted the monarch as she arrived to formally unveil the £3.4 million complex.
The hospice’s chief executive, Lyndsay Carter, who guided the Queen on her tour of the site, said: “It was wonderful to welcome Her Majesty to the Hospice and to be recognised for what we are achieving here.
“Since moving to Hillington we have seen a 75 per cent increase in the number of patients we care for and are able to provide even more highly specialist care than ever before for people living in the local area with complex life-shortening illnesses.
“We are now working towards developing our services further so that we can reach even more people in the future, with particular focus on getting the badly needed inpatient unit up and running.
“We are only able to do this thanks to the continued support of the public who provide 90 per cent of our funding.”
The Queen was greeted by Patricia Broke, chairman of the hospice’s trustees, and met Valerie and Diana Ford, the wife and daughter of the hospice’s founder, Dr Hugh Ford, as well as one of its founding members, Pin Armitage.
She also spent time with day therapy patients who were taking part in one of the many sessions the hospice provides to help people cope with their illnesses.
Christine Hutson presented a plant to the Queen from the hospice’s patient therapeutic gardening group, while Jack Plummer and his grandmother, Rachel Walker, presented Nelson’s Journey worry bears for Prince George and Princess Charlotte in recognition of the support they have received from both organisations.
Among the crowds waiting outside was Diana Briars, from Flitcham, who enjoyed the occasion with her four-year-old daughter, Kayleigh before she headed to nursery in Dersingham for the afternoon.
She said: “We just heard she was coming so we came to have a look.”
Regular royal follower Susie Crockett, from Dersingham, said: “I support the work of the hospice and it’s always lovely to see the Queen.
“I’ll be sad when she goes back next week. When she arrives (for Christmas) it feels like she’s coming home.”