The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire were honoured guests at Whitworth Hospital, Darley Dale, for a celebration on Saturday 5 October to mark the completion of new hospital parking facilities funded by Matlock Hospitals League of Friends.
The Duke and Duchess, who are joint presidents of Matlock Hospitals League of Friends, officially opened two additional car parks – including a new patient-only parking only area at the front of the hospital - with ceremonial ribbon-cuttings.
The Duchess also posed for a photo to recreate a treasured 1991 image, which still hangs in the hospital, of the late Duchess, Deborah, arriving in her car to open an earlier hospital parking area also funded by the league of friends. The late Duchess was a loyal supporter of the Matlock Hospitals League of Friends – a role which has been continued by the Duke and Duchess through their ongoing association with the league.
Matlock Hospitals League of Friends chairman Steven Walker welcomed the Duke and Duchess to Whitworth Hospital and thanked all who had played a role in ensuring the smooth running of this latest project which has delivered 23 additional hospital parking spaces at a total cost of £141,000.
Representatives from Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Whitworth Hospital, were in attendance, including chief executive Tracy Allen, who spoke of her gratitude for the fantastic support which is provided by league members at Whitworth Hospital and how the partnership makes a very real difference to local NHS care.
She thanked contractors Johnson Surfacing and the NHS trust’s estates team for delivering the project ahead of schedule and with minimum disruption to the working of the hospital since the start on site in April 2019. The Duke of Devonshire gave a short speech before unveiling the plaque.
He said that without the new parking facilities people could have been put off coming to the hospital and that he was pleased to see the inclusion of electric charging points. People had been thinking ahead, he said, while also taking care of present day needs. He also joked that it was very kind of the hospital and league to put in two new car parks, so there was one each for him and the Duchess to open.
A plaque was unveiled to commemorate the opening of the new car parks by the Duke and Duchess and it will be placed permanently in the main entrance porch at Whitworth Hospital. Harry Walker, aged 11, presented the Duchess with a posy of flowers and refreshments were provided by Whitworth Hospital’s kitchen team, including a selection of freshly-made cakes and biscuits.