Almost forty years ago, Princess Alice Hospice was opened by the Queen Mother in a ceremony made possible largely due to the first funds for a hospice being raised in Esher by the founding members of The Friends of Princess Alice Hospice. 

Land on West End Lane was purchased in 1981 and in January 1982 a fundraising office was set up and housed in the stable lads’ accommodation in the car park at Sandown Racecourse, courtesy of United Racecourses. In those days, it consisted of a single storey wooden shed fitted out with bunk beds.   

Part of The Friends’ plan was to draw up a calendar of events to raise funds for the building and its upkeep. 

One of those events is the Women of our Time Luncheon, originally set up to celebrate the achievements of local women in society. Since November 1982, the lunch has been held at Sandown and Kempton Park racecourses and for the past few years at the Duchess’ stand at Epsom Racecourse and is the longest running event in the Hospice events calendar. 

Over the years we have attracted a wonderful array of speakers.  Our first speaker was Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement who set up St. Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham. Since then, we’ve been reduced to tears of laughter by Sandi Toksvig and Maureen Lipman, educated by authors Lynda La Plante, Tracy Norman, Penny Vincenzi and Clare Mulley; enthralled by career highlights of Kate Adie, Angela Rippon and Jennie Bond, and had our taste buds tempted by Prue Leith and Mary Berry. This year TV and Radio presenter Angellica Bell joined us for the afternoon and was an absolute delight, donating some of the proceeds from the sales of her recent book, Fantastic Eats. 

The lunch is preceded by the opportunity for guests to browse a variety of Christmas stalls selling gifts, clothing and festive foodie treats, including delicious homemade cakes. 

Princess Alice Hospice will be celebrating its 40 years of delivering compassionate care to the local community in various ways – look out for further details on our website.