05:35PM, Friday 14 December 2018
The ‘dedication, commitment and determination’ of the family behind Berkshire’s first children’s hospice was hailed by the Prime Minister today.
Maidenhead MP Theresa May and Sir Michael Parkinson were among the guests to celebrate the official opening of the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice.
The purpose-built £7 million facility in Woodlands Park was first dreamt of by the Windsor based founders John and Fiona Devine in 2007 after their eight-year-old son Alex died from a rare brain tumour.
After years of fundraising, the hospice welcomed its first children through the doors in the summer with the next step on the journey taking place today.
Prime Minister Theresa May, who arrived at the event straight from Brussels said: “I think today is a remarkable day and it’s reflecting not just the effort that’s been put in by Fiona and John over these years but a dedication, a commitment and a determination that I have never seen in anyone else.
“For all the children and families that are going to benefit, they will owe you an enormous debt of gratitude.
“Their lives will be improved, their lives will be given that comfort and that support and that hope because of your determination and conviction.”
Sir Michael Parkinson, patron for the charity, added: “When you actually drive down that drive, you’re not looking at some little remote chateaux somewhere, you’re looking at a considerable building and every inch of it has been with monies raised by the family.
“The ambition was there for all to see.
“When you come inside here and see all the walls and colours and all the stuff that’s required here to give these sad people who have lost a child, as they did, then you know something special has happened.”
Charity co-founder Fiona Devine told the audience that her son had been their ‘shining light’.
She added: “He lived his short life with dignity, humour and an immense amount of kindness and when he died he died with an enormous amount of courage.
“And therefore, we have to go on with the same strength of character and courage and that is the reason we have to go on.”
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