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'Honoured' St Albans doctor, Mary Groves, behind Grove House Hospice, picks up her MBE
A St Albans doctor who was the driving force behind Grove House Hospice picked up her MBE last month.
Mary Groves, who the hospice is named after, was given the title as part of the Queens’ Birthday Honours List for services to the community in St Albans and to charity in Sierra Leone.
The 81-year-old said when she found out about the award: "It was a total surprise and I feel very honoured. I am quite humbled.
"All I’ve done is seen something that needed doing and I’ve had the energy to do it."
In the 1960s, Dr Groves worked as a doctor in the Nixon Memorial Hospital, Sierra Leone. She made major improvements in the care of pregnant mothers and babies, establishing clinics and maternity care.
Dr Groves has recently set up a charity, Friends of Nixon, to help rebuild and equip the hospital after civil war.
In the 1980s she moved to St Albans and became involved with the St Albans and District Churches Housing Association, now the Open Door Trust.
Over the past 19 years the charity has cared for over 7,500 homeless people.
The idea of setting up a hospice care service came after one of Dr Groves’ patients was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the late 70s.
It started as a remote service and as the charity grew they set up a site in St Albans.
As the hospice service grew, Dr Groves gave her position at the surgery to focus on the new project.
She said: "I loved working there but I found I couldn’t do both.
"The hospice work really had to be a priority.
"I found it very hard. I loved being a GP."
Dr Groves still works closely with the charity but takes a less active role as patron.
She said said: "It is my Christian calling to go and try it.
"I just feel very thankful that I’ve been able to do all these different things."
Dr Groves picked up the award on Thursday, November 28.
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