02:26PM, Thursday 08 February 2018
(L-R) Jeremy Spooner, Caroline Buswell, John Robertson, Debbie Raven, Peter Sands, Jane Symmons, and Pat Lattimer.
The Louis Baylis Trust made its largest single donation to an organisation that specialises in end of life and palliative care on Monday.
Thames Hospice received a cheque for £115k, which will go towards funding a physiotherapy unit at its new site in Bray when it opens in 2020.
The donation pushes the total donations from the trust, which owns the Express, to more than £5.5 million in the 46 years since it was created in 1962.
Thames Hospice chief executive Debbie Raven described how important physical exercise programmes can be for users.
“One of the first things we ask people is ‘what are you goals?’” she said.
“They will often want to make important events like weddings and graduations.
“Sometimes people will come in who may not have been able to get out of bed for some time and will have lost their confidence.
“So sessions help them rebuild their strength and their confidence.”
The new centre near Bray Lake will offer specialist exercise classes, weights, one-on-one and group sessions to help improve users physical and mental health.
Debbie told the story of one lady who was determined to see her daughter get married.
The hospice, which is currently based in Windsor, agreed to hold the ceremony in its sanctuary and, with the right programme, the woman managed to walk up the aisle herself.
She died the day after.
Debbie added: “People’s goals change so it’s our job to help people achieve them, whatever it is.”
Louis Baylis Trust chairman Peter Sands said while the trust had made sound investments in recent years, the donation was also a tribute to the hard work of the Express, as 80 per cent of its profits go back into the community.
Explaining the decision to award the funding, he said: “We have worked with hospices before and are familiar with the wider hospice movement.
“I guess as trustees we felt it touches everyone because we probably all have family and friends or someone who could need this sort of help.”
The new hospice was granted planning permission last year, with £12m raised.
However, it is still looking to raise another £6m to continue providing palliative care for generations to come.
Visit thameshospice.org.uk to find out more.
In 2016 the trust gave a £100,000 grant to the Alexander Devine Children's Hospice appeal.
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