The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire were special guests at a ceremony to unveil two new car park extensions at Whitworth Hospital in Darley Dale.
The duke and duchess travelled from their seat at Chatsworth House on Saturday morning in their capacity as joint presidents of the Matlock Hospitals’ League Of Friends group, which has generously funded the extensions.
The £141,000 project provides an additional 23 parking spaces at the hospital to help ease congestion for patients and visitors. Seven spaces are at the front of the building, for patients only, and a further 16 at the back.
The duke and duchess cut a ribbon to mark the completion of the project, and then joined a reception in the hospital’s dining room.
Officials recreated a photograph taken in the early 1990s when the previous Duchess of Devonshire, Deborah, opened a new car park at the front of the Bakewell Road hospital. That photo still hangs in the building.
Also at the reception were members of the League Of Friends and representatives from Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital.
William Jones, chief operating officer of the trust, said: “We are immensely grateful to the league for its fantastic support over many years at Whitworth.
“This latest project will make it easier for people to access services. We are delighted the work has been completed, and thank everyone for bearing with us while the contractors were on site in recent weeks.”
Mike Tomlinson, chairman of the league, said: “The problems with parking at the hospital have become more difficult, so we are proud to complete this scheme to give much-needed space.”
Pam Wildgoose, seceretary of the league, added: “The hospital now has an increasing number of clinics and services, together with the busy minor injuries unit, X-ray and physiotherapy departments and the recently reprieved and much-loved Oker Ward.
“Extra spaces are needed for the growing number of patients and visitors.”
Mike and Pam spearheaded a two-year campaign to save Oker Ward from closure.