05:00PM, Thursday 23 July 2015
Work to build a children’s hospice near Maidenhead will begin in September, it was revealed this week.
Fiona Devine, co-founder of the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service charity, broke the news to a room full of supporters at a capital campaign spring reception at Stoke Park in Stoke Poges on Tuesday.
“We are pressing that green button and we will be building by September,” said Fiona.
She was joined by Sir Michael Parkinson, a supporter of the charity since it formed, in announcing the decision.
The charity has raised £3.8m of the £5m needed, Fiona said, and building work will begin on a six-acre plot on the outskirts of Maidenhead in September.
“There will never be any closing chapters,” she said. “It is about making memories; about having fun, being full of love, laughter and tears.”
Sir Michael told guests how moved he had been by the story of Fiona and John Devine, from Windsor, when he first met them. Their son Alexander was diagnosed with a brain tumour at four and died aged eight.
Sir Michael said: “What they discovered in all that time was that the support system that should be in place was not there, and they were let down by the system. It should be a social necessity.”
He added: “I will be with this until the end.”
The reception was held at Stoke Park after the two captains of the club, Mark Appleyard and Wendy Fretwell, both chose Alexander Devine as their chosen charity – the first time two captains have ever chosen the same charity.
Fiona thanked all the guests for their attendance and support, singling out a few, including Sir Ian Macfadyen, a former constable and governor of Windsor Castle, businessman Sir John Madejski, and hospice designer Angus Neil.
Mr Neil, of architects Edgington, Spink and Hyne, said: “Evenings such as tonight are crucial to hear about what the plan is, and I’m sure people will be happy to hear in September a spade will be going in the ground.”
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