Our history

We were founded in 1971 and have been caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones ever since.

Our proud history

St Ann’s is one of the UK’s largest and oldest hospices, operating across two sites in Greater Manchester.

As strange as it may seem, hospices providing dedicated care to people at the end of their lives are quite a recent idea in the UK.

And just as the UK hospice movement would not be here without the vision and dedication of Dame Cicely Saunders, we at St Ann’s also owe a big debt of thanks to a remarkable woman who together with the Bishop of Manchester had the vision to see how to improve care for patients here in Greater Manchester.

Moya Cole and the original idea for St Ann’s Hospice

Dr Moya Cole OBE was one of the founders of our Heald Green hospice in Stockport back in 1971 and was also instrumental in the decision for St Ann’s to open a second hospice in Little Hulton in Salford in 1979.

Along with the Bishop of Manchester Dr William Greer, Moya recognised that there was a need for a hospice in Greater Manchester.

There were discussions about the merits of a purpose-built compared to an existing building and for speed it was eventually decided to buy and adapt an existing building which was located in the grounds of Cheadle Royal Hospital in Stockport.

A £250,000 appeal – enough for a new hospice and to pay for two years running costs!

An appeal was launched to buy the building, adapt its interior and add a chapel, extra bedrooms and office accommodation. The appeal was also to pay to cover the running costs of the hospice for two years. With the hard work of many dedicated volunteers who gave their time and enthusiasm the appeal quickly met its target – which included a £50,000 donation from the National Society for Cancer Relief in memory of its founder Douglas Macmillan.

St Ann’s is officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother

The first patients were admitted to our new hospice on 17th May 1971. Our new hospice was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother the following month.

It is reported that she made a great impression, taking the time to speak to every one of the 17 patients.

In just 12 months, the number of patients at our new hospice had increased to the maximum of 42. Before long, it was recognised that one hospice was not enough, and planning would start for St Ann’s to have a second hospice in North Manchester.

St Ann’s opens a second hospice in Little Hulton, Salford

In 1975 planning began for a second hospice, with the first patient welcomed at Little Hulton in Salford on 9th April 1979.

Continuing the royal tradition, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne officially opened our purpose-built new hospice.

The hospice has been an important part of the local community for over 40 years, and thanks to our generous supporters in 2022 we were able to modernise the reception, cafe, Haven reflection area and conservatory.

The Neil Cliffe Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital

St Ann’s took over the running of the Neil Cliffe Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital in 1998, an arrangement that continued until early 2023.

The centre was named after a local businessman to provide support and rehabilitation for patients.

St Ann’s starts making plans for a brand-new hospice at Heald Green

In 2015 St Ann’s started making plans for a purpose-built new hospice at Heald Green, to replace the current Victorian building and to ensure we can continue to provide excellent care to future generations. Our plans are now well underway, with over £19million for this £21.5 million plus development secured.

Early in 2023, we will complete the purchase of the land next door to our existing hospice site which will be where our new hospice is built – another milestone in our long and proud history.