Dr Karen Groves MBE (left) at Southport Flower Show 2022. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

A new Legacy Fund is being set up in honour of Queenscourt founder Dr Karen Groves MBE. 

The initiative is designed to carry on the incredible work of Dr Groves at the hospice, which admitted its first patients in 1991. 

The centre, on Town Lane in Kew in Southport, was officially opened by Princess Diana on 11th June 1992. 

It cares for around 2,000 local patients across Southport, West Lancashire and Formby every year, both at the hospice and at home. 

Dr Groves is retiring this year after an incredible three decades in charge. 

A Queenscourt Hospice spokesperson said: “We are pleased to let you know that Dr Groves will continue to support Queenscourt Hospice, and she is keen to ensure that we are always here for local people who need our care.

“We will share details of how you can help Dr Groves when we launch her exciting new Legacy Fund in the New Year, to help remember the past, deliver the best care we can for the present, and develop services for future generations.”

Speaking about her decision to retire, Dr Groves said: “Queenscourt is very special. 

“It is special because it has #teamqueenscourt – highly skilled and educated staff and volunteers who care, and support those who are vulnerable, in need, distressed, fearful of what the future holds, often in pain, and then listen – respond – and make a difference! 

“The time has come for me to retire and I do so with excitement and hope for the future of Queenscourt.

“I am delighted that Director of Nursing Louise Charnock, Corporate Services Director Debbie Pierce-Lawson and Interim Medical Director Dr Clare Finnegan will lead the services into their next years of development and that #teamqueenscourt will continue, not only to provide outstanding care, but to develop and grow.

Dr Karen Groves MBE (left) with Nicky Green the owner of Poplar Farm Flowers at Southport Flower Show 2022. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

Dr Karen Groves MBE (left) with Nicky Green the owner of Poplar Farm Flowers at Southport Flower Show 2022. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

“I could not be more proud of the teams I leave behind – what they have achieved, and continue to achieve, in all areas, clinical and non-clinical.

“I want to say thank you for all the lovely messages and kind words I have received over the last few months, and for the lovely celebrations and gifts, I am touched by so much kindness.

“The most important message is to say thank you to you all, staff and volunteers, for all that you do, from those who will never be able to thank you themselves.”

After qualifying as a medical doctor from Liverpool University in 1979, Dr Groves first identified the need for better end of life care after experiencing two particularly traumatic deaths in young women.

Dr Karen Groves MBE, Medical and Education Director at Queenscourt Hospice in Southport

Dr Karen Groves MBE, Medical and Education Director at Queenscourt Hospice in Southport

She went on to work as a GP in the Southport area for over 12 years and it was during this time that she and her sister Sarah, a nurse, sought advice from Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement in London.

On their return they inspired a small group of people to begin fundraising and after much hard work, planning permission for Queenscourt Hospice was granted in December 1988.

Mayor Cllr Maureen Fearn cut the first turf on March 14th, 1990 and planted a copper beech tree which still grows to the left of the entrance to what is now the Terence Burgess Education Centre.

The Hospice building was handed over on March 1st, 1991 and the next two months were spent fitting it out ready for occupation.

Queenscourt opened its Day Therapy and five inpatient beds on June 1st 1991 and later that year increased to a 10-bed ward.

The following year, Diana, Princess of Wales officially opened Queenscourt on 11th June 1992.

Dr Groves had been a volunteer doctor at the hospice for five years, while still working full time as a GP, until she was appointed as Medical Officer in 1995.

In 1996, she became the first local consultant in Palliative Medicine; in 2012, Dr Groves was awarded an honorary degree from Edge Hill University and in 2014 received an MBE for Services to Palliative Care. 

In August 2022 she was invited to be the VIP special guest who officially opened Southport Flower Show. 

For details on how you can support Queenscourt Hospice please visit: www.queenscourt.org.uk 

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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