A special appearance by actress Maureen

Actress Maureen Lipman was guest of honour at a hospice’s special day.

ACTRESS Maureen Lipman visited Garden House Hospice in Letchworth GC for a special day.

She was the guest of honour at a celebration to mark the completion of the rebuilding and refurbishing project which was started in 2006 and was supported by The Comet.

Some 70 guests were invited, many of whom had helped the hospice during the difficult days of fundraising and maintaining the hospice services for the community during the building process.

Ms Lipman was a close personal friend of the hospice’s late president, the celebrated actor Sir Nigel Hawthorne.

She spent over an hour chatting with patients and their families before the guests gathered in the Education Centre for a formal welcome by chairman of trustees, David Heymans.

It was followed by an entertaining speech by Ms Lipman in which she talked affectionately of Sir Nigel and of her commitment to hospices.

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As her late husband, the writer Jack Rosenthal, had spent his last weeks in the North London Hospice, this was clearly a matter close to her heart.

She then unveiled a portrait of Sir Nigel painted by trustee Trevor Bentham which is to be hung in the new Day Hospice Centre. All the guests then adjourned for lunch and a stroll around the newly landscaped gardens.

“All in all, this was a wonderful day to mark a milestone in our history that we shall certainly never forget,” said hospice general manager Jenny Lupton.