Hospice founder receives MBE from the Queen

The Queen with Dr Mary Groves (Rowe) of St Albans, who received her MBE at the investiture at Buckin

The Queen with Dr Mary Groves (Rowe) of St Albans, who received her MBE at the investiture at Buckingham Palace. Photo courtesy of British Ceremonial Arts Limited - Credit: British Ceremonial Arts Limited

One of the founders of Grove House Hospice has met the Queen while receiving her MBE at Buckingham Palace.

Dr Mary Groves Rowe received her MBE at an Investiture last Thursday, for services to the community in St Albans and Hertfordshire and for her charity work in Sierra Leone.

The octogenarian worked as a doctor in the Nixon Memorial Hospital, Sierra Leone, in the 1960s, and made major improvements in the care of pregnant mothers and babies, establishing clinics and maternity care. She has also set up a charity to help rebuild and equip the hospital after civil war.

After moving to St Albans in 1978, Mary 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 more than 7,500 homeless people.

Mary worked part-time as a GP at Midway, eventually becoming a full-time doctor and senior partner. In the 1980s she was part of a small group of volunteers who became increasingly concerned about the lack of provision to meet the needs of terminally-ill patients in this area.

Mary worked tirelessly to set up the first Macmillan nursing service and several years later the first Macmillan Runcie Day Hospice was opened. Today, working as part of Rennie Grove Hospice Care, it supports nearly 3,000 families across Herts and Bucks.

In 2002 Mary set up the St Albans and District Bereavement Network (SABN). Although she now takes a less active role she continues as an active patron.