IT has been a memorable year for Sister Frances Dominica who is celebrating not one but two milestones.

The founder of Oxford-based Helen and Douglas House celebrated her 70th birthday yesterday surrounded by friends and hospice staff at Douglas House.

This year also saw 30 years since she founded the children’s hospice Helen House in Leopold Street, Oxford, in 1982.

Sister Frances said: “It has been an amazing year and I have had wonderful celebrations.

“In a way the years have just flown by. In some ways I do not feel any different to when we opened Helen House. I have a bit of energy yet.”

Sister Frances was born Frances Ritchie on December 21, 1942, in Inverness, Scotland, in the middle of the Second World War.

She lived with her grandfather, a Church of Scotland elder, and her mother in Greenock until she was four.

Once her father was demobbed from the Army after the war, she moved with her family to Petersham in Surrey.

After meeting an Anglican vicar, she realised she wanted to be a nun and joined the Society of All Saints Sisters of the Poor which moved to East Oxford in 1976. In 2006 Sister Frances was given an OBE for services to healthcare.