A MOVING opening ceremony was held to commemorate one year since Bury Hospice opened the doors to its state-of-the-art new building.

A celebration took place to mark the hospice’s official opening, 12 months after patients were first welcomed into the £5.05 million centre in Rochdale Old Road.

The Rt Reverend Terence Brain, Bishop of Salford, and the Rt Reverend Christopher Edmondson, Bishop Suffragan of Bolton, were guests of honour at the event.

Jacqui Comber, chief executive of Bury Hospice, said she had been “blown away” by the difference the centre had been able to make to the people of Bury in a year.

However, with the hospice costing £2.8 million to run each year, she stressed the importance “more than ever” of ongoing donations.

She said: “The hospice was built by the people of Bury for the people of Bury and the care we provide is for the people of Bury. It is amazing to see the difference we have been able to make in a year and I have been so moved by the support we have had.”

Bury Hospice was based in Dumers Lane, Radcliffe, from 1991 and this site is currently being revamped to create children’s hospice Grace’s Place, which will open this autumn.

Twice as many people are now being seen at Bury Hospice as were being treated in the old building, and Mrs Comber’s target is for 1,000 patients to be cared for there over the next 12 months.

More funding, she said, would allow Bury Hospice to run hospice at home day care six days a week and would mean three more beds could be opened in the in-patient unit.

Mrs Comber added: “I want to remind people that we still need donations. People think because we are here we are okay, but it costs more to run this new building. Just 12 per cent of our running costs come from NHS funding so we still need all the help people can afford to give. A big fundraising push would allow us to launch the hospice completely.”

When the new building opened, it marked the first time Bury Hospice could care for people with all life-limiting illnesses and conditions, not just those with a malignant diagnosis.

The building provides 12 in-patient bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and access to a terrace overlooking landscaped gardens.

There is also accommodation for relatives and families, relaxation areas, increased catering facilities and an outpatient centre offering appointments, clinics, treatments and therapies.