Children’s hospice founder from Fareham receives ‘Points of Light’ award from Suella Braverman MP

Children’s hospice founder from Fareham receives ‘Points of Light’ award from Suella Braverman MP

Suella Braverman MP has presented Churchill Owner Derek Phillips with a special Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers and people who are making a change in their community.

Derek, who lives independently in his new apartment at Churchill’s Beck Lodge development in Park Gate, set up Demelza Hospice Care for Children over 25 years ago in memory of his daughter Demelza, who died of a brain tumour aged 24 and had been dedicated to supporting children in hospices.

Wanting to continue her legacy, Derek and his wife Jennifer began establishing a hospice charity in her name in 1994, with the first hospice opening in 1998 in Sittingbourne, Kent, followed by two further sites in South East London and East Sussex. The charity now provides support every year to over 600 children, young people and their families, providing palliative, respite, end-of-life and bereavement care.

Suella Braverman QC, MP for Fareham, visited Beck Lodge on Friday 24th June for a special event to present Derek with the Points of Light award. Congratulating him on his achievement, she said:

"Earlier this year I visited Beck Lodge in my constituency where I met Derek and heard about the enduring charitable efforts he has made over the course of his lifetime. In response to such a tragic turn of events, Derek provided a point of light for so many in honour of his daughter Demelza. He continued her work with her always in mind. His efforts truly are of the highest calibre and have resulted in invaluable memories for people going through the worst imaginable situations of their lives. It is for Derek’s compassionate service and dedication to supporting children and young adults, and their families, that I believe he is fully deserving of being awarded a Points of Light award."

Lavinia Jarrett, CEO of Demelza, said:

“Without Derek, there would be no Demelza Hospice. His vision – to build a hospice supporting children with serious or terminal conditions in Kent – has resulted in a vital service, providing specialist care and emotional support for over 600 children, and their families, across the South East, whether in our hospices in Sittingbourne and Eltham, South East London or in the community across East Sussex. This is a richly deserved award and huge congratulations from everyone at Demelza.”

Derek is the 1,914th person to receive the UK daily Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.