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Alexander Devine’s lasting legacy

Alexander Devine Hospice

Sir Michael Parkinson and Theresa May

PRIME Minister Theresa May flew in directly from her morning meeting with European leaders in Brussels for the grand opening of the final stage of the new £6 million children’s hospice, Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice, on 15 December 2018. The hospice features a £100,000 bedroom funded by Wooden Spoon Chilterns.

Taking 10 years from concept to completion, with Sir Michael Parkinson and Theresa May as major sponsors, this is the first children’s hospice in either Berkshire or Buckinghamshire.

Earlier in the year, the bedroom suite funded by the children’s charity of rugby was officially opened at the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice in Maidenhead. The bedroom is an invaluable feature at the residential care hospice, which is the only one serving Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The much-needed facility was made possible by the tireless efforts of Fiona Devine, whose son it is named after, along with the assistance of Wooden Spoon Chiltern’s Barrie Mair.

The Hospice will help the around 600 children with life-terminating illnesses in the local area as well as their families and those who follow in years to come.

He explained: “Wooden Spoon had originally been contacted some ten years previously by Fiona, soon after her son had died from a cancerous tumour of the brain. At that stage she and her husband had the vision of a hospice in [Alexander’s] memory, but only the promise of a local farmer’s land should the concept prove to be successful.

“The outline costs of £4-5 million clearly meant that Chilterns could only be a part-contributor. As there was only a realistically small chance that such an amount could be raised, I told Fiona that Wooden Spoon would be happy to consider paying for a feature of the hospice when the fundraising had taken off and the project was ‘go’.”

Benefactors of the hospice include children’s charity of rugby supporter Sir Michael Parkinson and local MP and Prime Minister Theresa May as well as two philanthropic Wooden Spoon members, who all helped to raise the required funds for the hospice, which opened in early June 2018.

The Wooden Spoon bedroom suite, made possible through a legacy from David Smith, was unveiled towards the end of June by Caroline Brooks, the widow of Maidenhead Rugby Club’s Director of Rugby Tony Brooks, and will now create a legacy of its own.

To find out more about the activities of Wooden Spoon Chilterns and how you can get involved, please contact the committee on chilterns@woodenspoon.org.uk