Archbishop opens League of Friends Relatives' Suite at Kent and Canterbury Hospital

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, opened a new relatives’ suite at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital on Wednesday 1 April. The suite, which will provide accommodation for two families with sick relatives, was funded by the League of Friends, of which Archbishop Justin is Patron.

Before unveiling the plaque, Archbishop Justin spoke of his own experience of his children being seriously ill in hospital and remembering how exhausting and trying it was. He said: “This is a wonderful facility  which gives families with seriously ill relatives a space, a chance to get a few hours of sleep so they may regain their strength as they deal with trying times.” Describing the relatives’ suite as ‘an extraordinary achievement’, Archbishop Justin continued: “Hospital Trusts, like this, only work with the help of people like the League of Friends who fill gaps which otherwise would be unbelievably noticeable.  I am very privileged to be associated with League of Friends."

The Joan Bourner Diamond Jubilee Suitee, which has been converted from a doctor’s flat in the hospital grounds, includes two hospitality rooms with fully reclining chairs, a kitchen and showering facilities plus a communal conservatory and patio. The project was funded through donations including a legacy from the late Joan Bourner (after whom the suite was named).

During the visit, the Archbishop met Dr Stuart Field, Chairman of the League of Friends, Mr Nick Wells, Chairman of East Kent Hospitals University Trust and the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Mrs Ann Taylor, plus staff and fundraisers.


Information for editors:

Further information from: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese 01227 459 401, 07876 210 446,

Photo show: Mr Nick Wells, Chair of the East Kent Hospital  University Trust, Mrs Ann Taylor, Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin and Dr Stuart Field, Chair of the League of Friends


The League of Friends of the Kent and Canterbury Hospital was founded in 1953 and has contributed over £7.5M to the hospital, providing and staffing hospital shops, ward libraries, mealtime companions and hospital radio.