28 October 2021

Staff and volunteers celebrated a landmark anniversary at Katharine House this week when they celebrated the hospice’s 30th birthday.

Thirty years ago, on 14 October 1991, Diana, HRH The Princess of Wales, officially opened Katharine House. Since then, the hospice has met the emotional, physical and medical needs of thousands of people affected by life-limiting illnesses. 

Named after Katharine Gadsby, who died from cancer in 1984, the hospice provides specialist palliative care for adults with life-limiting conditions across North Oxfordshire, South Northamptonshire and South Warwickshire, in the hospice, at the Horton General hospital and in the home. It also supports the wider needs of family and friends affected by the illness or death of a loved one.

Katharine was just 20 years old when she lost her life to cancer. The gifted musician, who played the piano and violin, was described by those who knew her well as talented, responsible and responsive and very much liked by all.

Her death set her father, Neil, and friends on a six-year journey to raise enough funds to build a place that cared for people during their toughest times. Thirty years later and Katharine House Hospice is now an established, essential part of the community.

Neil said: “It is very satisfying to look back over thirty years and know that the hospice has

 made a positive change to the care of more than 11,000 people who have turned to Katharine House for support, and I pay tribute to the skilled and dedicated staff who have been involved over these three decades.

“These years have witnessed many changes as the hospice has evolved, none greater than the recent partnership with Oxford University NHS Trust. But I am confident that one thing will never change - the Katharine House philosophy, which puts people at the heart of all we do.

“Of course, there is one further fundamental thing which must not change – the symbiotic relationship with the community, which ensured that the hospice thrived. In thirty years as chairman of the charity I witnessed so much supportive endeavour, which future generations will need to maintain, as I am sure they will.”

Trevor Johnson, CEO of Katharine House Hospice charity, said: “Katharine House is such a special place. It means so much to so many people and we want to thank each and every person that has played a part in ensuring we can carry on our essential work.

“We want to be here for the next 30 years and for that to happen, we need the continued support of our community - now more than ever. We’re on course to provide care for more people than ever before and every penny raised for the hospice really does make a difference to the people we support.”

Katharine House Hospice