Posted: Thu 30th May 2024

Forty years ago today, The Countess of Chester Hospital was officially opened by Princess Diana

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

The Countess of Chester Hospital is celebrating a significant milestone in its history this week.

Forty years ago today, the hospital was officially opened by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, in a memorable visit.

On Wednesday, 30 May 1984, a bright and sunny day, crowds of visitors and staff lined the hospital grounds to catch a glimpse of the Princess, accompanied by her then-husband Prince Charles.

Staff who were working at the time recall Diana’s ‘radiant beauty’ and striking blue eyes.

Both she and Charles made time to chat with staff and patients as they toured the hospital.

Sandra Libardi, a nurse who was working on Ward 43 during the royal opening, reminisced, “I loved all the fuss of getting our patients and beds perfect for the visit.”

“We were told which patients to stand by. Charles walked through and said hello and he talked with one patient – he was very engaging. Princess Diana was in a class of her own.”

“It was so lovely that the hospital was named after her – a caring, loving lady, just like the ward we worked on at that time.”

Elen Jones, another former nurse, added, “The royal visit caused a lot of excitement and fuss.”

“It all happened so quickly, but it really cheered the patients up. What I do remember about Charles and Diana was how tall and slim they both were!”

Following the official opening, Diana and Charles enjoyed a special meal prepared by the catering team, consisting of smoked salmon Barquettes, whole prawns and crab claws, and coronets of ham, followed by strawberry tartlets, cheese and biscuits, and fresh fruit.

Over the past 40 years, the Countess of Chester Hospital has grown and evolved significantly, embracing technological advancements and continually improving the quality of care it provides.

Chief Executive Officer Jane Tomkinson OBE remarked, “Our 40th anniversary is a moment to reflect on our history and the journey we have undertaken over the past 40 years. It is also a chance to look forward with pride and optimism. Our hospital has grown and developed tremendously thanks to the commitment of our team, and we are immensely proud of our achievements over the past four decades.”

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