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Eamonn Holmes new ambassador to NI Hospice he 'used to pass growing up'

Eamonn Holmes with patient Ursula Burns at the NI Hospice yesterday. Picture by Hugh Russell

TELEVISION host Eamonn Holmes has spoke of his "great honour" in becoming an ambassador of the hospice he used to pass growing up in north Belfast.

The presenter yesterday met patients and staff at the Northern Ireland Hospice on Somerton Road and described how he had been inspired by their enthusiasm.

Holmes joins Celtic Football manager Brendan Rodgers and teenage golf star Tom McKibben as ambassadors supporting the adult hospice and Northern Ireland Children's Hospice.

After taking a tour of the facility, the 'This Morning' host spoke of his surprise at the atmosphere in the building, which he described as "part of the fabric of north Belfast where I grew up".

"I thought this would be a depressing day, but I have walked round the wards, but people are enthused and they are happy," he said.

"Perhaps they shouldn't be, but it's down to the staff, down to the atmosphere they have created here.

"When I was growing up, you knew the hospice was here and you would walk past it, but you would drop your head and you would think, I know what goes on in there

"And yes it goes on in there, but look at the way it goes on - coming here today and seeing this amazing building."

Calling his cousin, Mary Rose Scott - a hospice employee - to the stage yesterday, he thanked staff for their dedication and said he had "no hesitation in taking up the invitation to represent Northern Ireland Hospice as an ambassador".

"I hope my association will go a long way to spreading the knowledge of palliative care in Northern Ireland while encouraging others to support the organisation," he said.

Heather Weir from the hospice said "it brings us great joy to enlist Eamonn as an ambassador".

"He has committed to raising awareness of our care services in our adults and children's hospices and in the community."

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