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The Rowans Hospice flower bed

Our history

A visit to St Christopher’s Hospice in 1972 by a group of District Nurses based at Somers Town, provided the catalyst which led to the creation of The Rowans Hospice. After witnessing first hand the pioneering work of Dame Cicely Saunders, the nurses started campaigning and fundraising for a hospice to serve the people of Portsmouth. Their wait was a long one… 


Milestones in the history of The Rowans Hospice


Lord Mayor John Marshall launches an appeal for the ‘Portsmouth Area Hospice’. Lady Mayoress Louisa Taylor goes on to play a leading role in fundraising and setting up hospice support groups.



Squire Robin Thistlethwayte generously donates 3.2 acres of land opposite Purbrook Heath as the site for the proposed hospice. To supporters and fundraisers it becomes known as the ‘field of dreams’.


HRH Princess Alexander visiting the hopspice


The foundation stone is laid by patron Mrs Mary Thistlethwayte. The hospice opens with ten beds on 25th October. An official opening follows on 1st November, conducted by HRH Princess Alexandra.


In-patient care operates at full capacity with nineteen beds and is enhanced by a new physiotherapy suite. National recognition comes when the hospice receives its first Health Quality Service award.

In-patient care

Hospice Chapel


The Heath Centre opens to support those newly diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. An appeal is launched for a new hospice Chapel, which is completed the following year.


With funds from Children in Need a project worker is recruited by Family Services to work specifically with children and young people. This is now known as Rowan’s Meerkat Service.

Rowans Southwick Suite


The opening of a newly refurbished Southwick Suite significantly enhances our therapeutic environment, providing a stunning facility to support Day Care, The Heath Centre and Bereavement Services funded by a Department of Health grant.


Launched in 2008, the Moonlit Memories Walk has become the most successful fundraising event in the history of the hospice. Hopes are high of reaching a target of £1 million raised over three years


20th Anniversary



The Rowans Hospice celebrates its 20th Anniversary and continues to help the local community to receive hospice care.


Volunteer with us.

Whatever your age or interests, we provide many opportunities to volunteer at The Rowans Hospice. Serve meals, work in a shop, help in the hospice or drive for us.


Shop with us.

Bag yourself a bargain and support us at the same time. Visit our shops and see our great range of new and donated goods. You can donate as you shop by giving us anything you no longer want.


How to help.

Discover the exciting ways you can fundraise and get involved with The Rowans Hospice. From abseiling to family walks and business fun days, we.ve got great events for everyone.