20 years of care celebrated
Written by karen on 15 June 2018
20 Years of Demelza Hospice Care
A much loved local charity which supports and offers care for seriously ill children is celebrating 20 years in our community today.
Demelza Hospice Care for Children works tirelessly to make life better for babies, children and young people with life threatening or life-limiting illnesses.
The Charity based at Rook Lane in Bobbing was created by the parents of Demelza Phillips, who sadly lost her life at the age of 24 from a brain tumour. Inspired by Demelza’s work at a children’s hospice in Birmingham, her parents decided to create & launch an organisation in her memory
In 1998, the Demelza hospice in Rook Lane, Bobbing, near Sittingbourne, opened, after being designed by architect Derek, which includes many facilities and adapted bedrooms and family occasions to make families comfortable during a difficult time.
The once small Sittingbourne charity, now costs £10m to run each year and has thousands of dedicated supporters from around the country.
Founders of Demelza…
Derek, Demelza’s father stepped down as the Demelza Hospice Care chairman in 2001, taking on the role as founding president.
Sadly, Jennifer, Demelza’s mother died unexpectedly in August the same year, but Derek still campaigns relentlessly for the vision inspired by the loss of his daughter. He said: “Demelza loved working, she put everything into it. “She was only at the Hospice in Birmingham for a short time, but we went to the hospice on the day of her funeral, and they were all in tears. “She just flung herself into into it, and she loved it.”
Derek, 78, who now lives in Southampton with his wife, Alma, has described the support from people across the county as “wonderful”.
The late 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma served as patron of Demelza Hospice Care since its inception, and was a tireless supporter and ambassador for the charity.
“Humbling, inspiring & heart wrenching…”
Lavinia Jarrett, who is director of people and resources at Demelza, has been with the charity for more than 18 years.
She said: “It’s been amazing, and I can’t imagine ever doing anything else.
“It has been humbling, inspiring and heart wrenching at times, and I feel so privileged to have had this opportunity.”
Demelza celebrates its 20th anniversary today, with a tea party for specially invited guests.
For more information, visit www.demelza.org.uk