Military Send Off For Headley Court

The outgoing Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) Headley Court has been given a military send-off as it closed its doors.

The Surrey-based centre has been helping military patients for almost 70 years but it is now moving to the new £300 million Stanford Hall centre which will continue to aid service personnel who have suffered major trauma or injury.

The new DNRC was the idea of the late 6th Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, who led the £300 million fundraising drive with a personal gift of £70 million.

A Spitfire flies over Headley Court.
A Spitfire flies over Headley Court.

To say goodbye to Headley Court, there was music, a final Beating Retreat was held and a Spitfire flypast as part of a 'sunset ceremony'.

Commanding Officer, Group Captain Teresa Griffiths said: "It’s about capturing those memories and holding those tight, but actually re-writing that new chapter and making sure the magic, the ethos, the culture that makes this place so magical, embed that into the foundations into the new Stamford Hall, build on that reputation that we’ve got."

A final Beating Retreat at Headley Court.
A final Beating Retreat at Headley Court.

The day was designed to thank those who contributed to the centre and recognise the impact it has had on tens of thousands of patients over almost 70 years.

One staff member being thanked was Kath Ryan, who had been making cakes for patients for almost a decade.

She said: "I cannot believe that something so simple can make such a difference to their recovery and have an impact on their mental well being as well.

Prince William opens the new DNRC at Stanford Hall (Picture: PA).
Prince William opens the new DNRC at Stanford Hall (Picture: PA).

"It’s an incredible thing to see their faces light up - and they’ll send you messages saying when are you coming to Headley again or I missed you last time gutted. 

"They do find themselves in difficult circumstances and they need a morale boost and a bit of fun, a bit of banter…and a bit of cake!"

The new DNRC was formally gifted to the nation last month by the Duke of Cambridge and Headley Court will be transferring its rehabilitation services to the new centre.

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