01:30PM, Thursday 22 September 2016
It's hard to believe that just a year ago, Theresa May, now our Prime Minister, was breaking the ground for the Alexander Devine hospice site.
In only 12 months, the charity has made great progress, with the build on track for a February finish. It is scheduled to open next summer.
The Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service, which began in 2007, was set up by Fiona and John Devine, a year after their eight-year-old son Alexander died from a rare brain tumour.
Despite the bad weather and flooding on site, several of the rooms in the hospice are finally starting to take shape.
The purpose-built facility, which will be the first children’s hospice in Berkshire, will include six child bedrooms, two adult suites, creative learning rooms and a hydrotherapy pool.
The charity, which is now pushing for the final £500,000 it needs, has thanked the community for its support.
To date, more than £6.3m has been raised for the charity.
Fiona Devine said she is overwhelmed by the progress.
“It’s been immense; we’ve achieved so much,” she said.
“Just a year ago we celebrated the ground-breaking ceremony with Alex’s brother and sister, friends and patrons of the charity, including Michael Parkinson and Theresa May.
“We’ve done so well with our capital campaign and the generosity from people has been amazing.
“The hospice buildings are looking great and we’re on track for a February finish.”
She added: “We’d like to thank everyone for their support, the fundraisers and all the volunteers.”
2007: Fiona and John Devine set up the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service after their son Alexander died from a brain tumour.
2013: A £5m capital campaign is launched with the help of the charity’s patron Sir Michael Parkinson.
2014: The Advertiser and its sister Express papers back the charity by launching the Together We Can Build It campaign.
June 2015: Fiona Devine calls for a final push to raise the cash needed for the hospice. The total stands at £3.8million, including £100,000 donated by the Louis Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Charitable Trust.
September 23, 2015: Ground is broken at the hospice site in Snowball Hill, Woodlands Park. Sir Michael Parkinson and Theresa May MP are among those in attendance.
November 2015: Foundations are laid for the hospice site.
February 2016: Work begins on the ground floor and the charity needs a remaining £1m to reach its target.
April 2016: Work begins on the roof of the hospice.