The modern Hospice movement was founded by Dame Cecily Saunders with the establishment of St. Christopher’s Hospice in London in 1967. This inspired local, Vivien Smith who realised that their philosophy that a patient with a life limiting illness needed not only excellent medical and nursing care but also support for their practical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. At her retirement speech in 1984 as Matron of the Royal Infirmary in Chester, Vivien announced that she was going to build a Hospice for Chester and the surrounding areas.

Hospice History Timelines – From the Beginning


First Public Meeting at Chester Town Hall called by Vivien Smith who identified a need. Fundraising begins with the establishment of a Committee to raise a target of £600,000 to buy and equip a new Hospice.

Hospice donors, Hospice history


Former Vicarage and grounds at Backford is bought at Auction for £85,000 and the first hospice shop in Northgate Street, Chester opens it’s doors.


By the first AGM on 12th February, an Appeals Office located in Hunter Street was established and raised over £250,000. Architects Lovelock, Mitchell & Partners appointed to design the Hospice.


Hospice appeal reaches its target of £600,000 and in September work commenced at Backford by Joseph Finney & Son. The Bishop of Chester, Dr Michael Baughen, laid the foundation stone of the In-Patient Unit in November.



Hospice Development Trust is formed to attract new funding from the local community and businesses as Hospice launches an appeal for £400,000 to run the Hospice.


The Hospice of the Good Shepherd opens on 6th February and the first patient is welcomed by Matron Mrs Ann Teaney and staff. The Hospice is officially opened by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, escorted by the Duchess of Westminster, our Patron and watched by many supporters, staff and volunteers.

Hospice donors, Hospice history, Princess Diana


All 12 beds open in the In-patient Unit (December)


New Home Care, Social work and Macmillian Nurse facilities in the Coach House costing £150,000 opened by Lady Tollemache.

Hospice donors, Hospice history, Princess Diana


Cheshire Hospices Education founded with St Luke’s Winsford and Easy Cheshire Hospices to provide palliative care education to other caring professionals.


’99’ appeal set up to mark the 10th Anniversary of the opening of the Hospice to raise funds for a new and improved reception area and Day Care.


The inner courtyard was refurbished and opening by Hospice Chaplain and Chief Executive.

Hospice donors, Hospice history, Princess Diana


Rose Garden opened at the Hospice.


Department of Health Grant of £550,000 used for major refurbishment of Hospice Facilities


Steve Hoy takes position of new Chief Executive following the retirement of David McClenghan and develops new strategy and business plan to take the Hospice forward.