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Publication Date: 23 February 2007
Her Majesty at Moorfields tours the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre accompanied by Sir Thomas Boyd Carpenter (pictured left) and Ian Balmer, Chief Executive (pictured right)
Press contact: Martin Spencer
Telephone: 020 7566 2628
Her Majesty The Queen officially opened the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre today. Her Majesty arrived at the new multi-million pound site at Peerless Street, EC1 where local residents and Moorfields staff gave her a warm welcome. Even a few spots of light rain couldn’t dampen the spirits.
Maria Holden, who lives in the flats overlooking the centre said: “It’s not every day the Queen turns up on your doorstep. The building is so unique, and certainly gives the area a bit of character.”
She was greeted on the steps of the new centre by Sir Thomas Boyd Carpenter (pictured left with Her Majesty), Chairman of Moorfields and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant. A bagpiper performed as her Majesty entered the building.
She was taken on a tour of the new centre, where she was shown the facilities and met members of staff. This included the recovery area where children go after their operation, the clinic daycare facilities, and the research floor.
Her Majesty then came to the ground floor and was welcomed by children from Morelands School, Islington who sang her a special song about Moorfields.
Sir Thomas Boyd-Carpenter gave a short speech and said: “Moorfields includes the largest concentration of consultant ophthalmologists anywhere in the world. Children represent a very important part of our work – last year there were more than 26,000 appointments for children, and we have made some very exciting breakthroughs in recent years. However, our buildings didn’t match, and we were practicing 21st century medicine in 19th century surroundings. The centre will at last provide a proper environment in which our staff can take forward their work of transforming the lives of those for whom they care.”
Her Majesty then unveiled a plaque, and continued to meet staff and some of major donors.
Ian Balmer, Chief Executive (pictured right) commented: “It’s wonderful that everyone involved in the building; from architects, clinicians, nurses, donors, designers and patients came together today to mark this momentous occasion. It was a real team effort, and everyone contributed their bit. It’s an absolutely amazing building, and we are honoured that Her Majesty came to open the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre today. When patients do arrive they will notice that it doesn’t look like a hospital, and this was completely deliberate, as we want both patients and families to feel comfortable. Moorfields is now in possession of a world class facility, and we hope to see thousands of children and make a real difference to their lives.”
Joyti Vaja, Mayor of Islington, said: “It’s a wonderful building, really unique and certainly brightens up the area. I am certain that when patients and families come here, they will receive the best possible care. It was a privilege to be here to see Her Majesty officially open the centre.”
One of the patients that will benefit from the centre is Aine Joyce, a four year old who has glaucoma. She travels down from Sheffield with her parents to see Maria Papadopoulos and says the centre is ‘really nice’. Her parents take advantage of the Ronald Macdonald Family Accommodation unit, a feature of the building which enables families to stay overnight. Her parents say that Aine really looks forward to visiting Moorfields now.
This view was also echoed by Julia Margetts, who has been coming to Moorfields for three years. She says: “It’s a really cool building with lots of bright colours, and much better than the old children’s ward.”
The man who donated £2.5 million to the appeal, and whom the building is named after, Richard Desmond said: “It’s a great day for Moorfields, and I am extremely proud to have my name associated with this fantastic hospital. The building is marvellous and I hope this centre will be here for years to come, and treat as many children as possible.”