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Hospital staff and a former patient recall King Charles’s visit to The Christie

Press release posted 28 April 2023

Ahead of the coronation, staff and a former patient have been recalling how they met the future king when he visited The Christie on 7 February 2007.

The new king met with members of The Christie’s Complementary Health and Wellbeing team during his visit, including current nurse consultant and therapist Jacqui Stringer, who discussed how aromatherapy was being used to help calm patients during their treatment.

Jacqui said: “King Charles has been interested in complementary therapy for many years, and we were thrilled when he wanted to visit our team at the Christie in 2007. He was really interested in the work we were doing and very charming. I’m sure he will be a kind, thoughtful, and compassionate king.”

The current deputy chief nurse at The Christie, Theresa Plaiter, also got to meet the king in her role as the divisional lead nurse responsible for the Critical Care Unit at The Christie. She said: “I felt extremely privileged to be part of the royal visit, representing the Critical Care Unit, and being introduced to the then Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

“My overriding memory was that they were both very approachable and extremely interested in our service and the care we delivered. This was particularly pertinent, as a patient we had cared for in Critical Care was also invited, with his wife, to meet the royal couple. I will fondly remember the visit when watching King Charles’s coronation on the 6 May.”

Theresa is pictured chatting to the king alongside Indeewar Kapila, now an honorary consultant anaesthetist in the oncology critical care unit.

Nurses Paula Bell and Carol Newbery also met the future king. Paula (pictured shaking his hand) is a senior research nurse in renal cancer, and Carol is a clinical research nurse in renal cancer.

Other Christie staff who met the king that day included the then catering manager, Rosie Gill (now the soft facilities manager), who had recently won a staff award for the quality of the fruit scones being produced by the kitchen, and current assistant service manager for SACT services, Maxine Neille, who was then a senior scheduler. The future king was interested to know how many chemotherapy appointments were scheduled each week.

During the king’s visit, the four-year-old son of a cancer survivor presented a bouquet to Camilla.

Debbie Worthington, from Bolton, recalls how she and her son Dylan met the future king during his visit in 2007. She had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma – a cancer that starts in the white blood cells - in August 1999.

Fortunately, her treatment was successful, and Debbie launched a fundraising drive to thank the specialists who treated her. And every year since, Debbie and her family and friends have set off on a sponsored walk around the moors of Rivington, raising an incredible £200,000 for The Christie.

It was during the trek on 5 August 2002, exactly three years to the day of being diagnosed, that the real surprise came. Debbie decided to visit her doctors, fearing the back pain she was experiencing meant her cancer had returned. But despite the fact she thought the cancer treatment had made her infertile, to her utter joy and amazement - she was 29 weeks pregnant.

Born just a few weeks later, Dylan, who will be 21 in November – has joined his parents – Debbie and husband Andy – on every walk since.

Commenting on the forthcoming coronation, Debbie said: “It was so exciting and such an honour to meet the Prince of Wales and Camilla back in 2007. They were so friendly and took an interest in my story. Dylan was a bit shy and tried to hide initially, but Camilla was lovely and put him at ease.

“Like many, I want to wish King Charles a long and happy reign and am sure he will make a great king. I’ll be watching as he is crowned during the coronation ceremony.”

Last updated: May 2023