TRIBUTES have been paid to an ‘inspiring’ woman who dedicated her life to the hospice movement.
Anne, Duchess of Norfolk, died peacefully at her home in Oxfordshire, aged 85.
A lifelong charity supporter, the Duchess founded Help the Hospices in 1984.
She was described as a ‘remarkable woman’ whose ‘determination and selfless drive’ left an ‘indisputable mark’ on hospice care across the UK.
Michael Howard, chairman of Help the Hospices, said: “We are deeply saddened by Anne’s death. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.
“Anne was an inspiration to the hospice movement and her loss will be felt by everyone who has ever been involved with Help the Hospices.
“Anne once described how she ‘lost her heart to hospice care’ following a visit to St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney in 1980.
“Inspired by the work being done and clear about the need for better and more sustainable funding for hospices, Anne embarked on a mission to set up a national organisation which could help the hospice movement expand and thrive.
“Thanks to Anne’s unrelenting enthusiasm and commitment to hospice care, Help the Hospices was formed.
“Over the years, under Anne’s masterful guidance, the charity has grown from strength to strength and today plays a vital role representing and supporting more than 200 local hospices across the UK.
“While substantial progress has been made in recent decades towards better care of the dying and support for their family and friends, there is still much to do.
“Anne steered our ambitious goal to transform the way people affected by terminal illness are cared for and her vision will remain the cornerstone of everything we do at Help the Hospices.”
David Praill, chief executive of Help the Hospices, said: “Anne was a passionate and exceptionally dedicated champion of the hospice movement throughout her life.
“She supported hospices in so many different ways, from her tireless fundraising to her considerable efforts to make more people aware of the valuable contribution of hospices to society.
“Anne was completely in her element when at the bedside of patients. She will be greatly missed and leaves a rich legacy of compassion, coupled with inspirational drive and humour.
“It was a huge privilege to have worked with her.”
The Duchess was also a former president of St Wilfrid’s and was described as ‘instrumental’ in its development.
A tribute released by the hospice said: “The Duchess dedicated her life to the Hospice movement, and she was an inspiration to so many people.”
Chief executive Alison Moorey added: “The Duchess was such a support to St Wilfrid’s, In 1984 she launched the building appeal and in 1986 she laid the foundation stone for the hospice.
“I have very fond memories of her visits here each Christmas until a few years ago.
“She always enjoyed talking to the patients during her visits and they were delighted to meet her.
“The dedication and time she gave to the hospice made a real difference and she will be remembered with fondness and love by a great many people who have been connected with the hospice over the years. Our thoughts and wishes are with her family.”