Charity Chairman retires from a truly “inspiring” place

15 June 2018
The retiring Chairman of Demelza Hospice Care for Children has described her time with the charity as “inspiring and rewarding” and has said that many touching moments will remain with her forever.

Sarah Phillips steps down at the end of June at the completion of her two three-year terms and said many of her farewells on Friday 15 June when Demelza held a celebration to mark the charity’s 20th anniversary.

Mrs Phillips said: “My previous experience had been in charities within the fields of disability or victims of crime, but never with children.  When I was approached to chair Demelza, I saw immediately what a wonderful cause it is and was delighted to be appointed. The fact that Demelza benefits from a huge bank of volunteers  and the expertise of the amazing care team supports not just the child with a terminal illness but the extended family as well fitted with my previous roles. 

 “There are too many highlights to list but I was very proud of all the staff and volunteers when we were awarded  The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and gained a rating of ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission for the Kent Hospice 
 “I’ve enjoyed every minute and in particular seeing what a difference the charity makes to children and their families. “

The retiring Chairman was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1981 and volunteered subsequently for the MS Society at branch, regional, national and international level, becoming the first Chairman with MS of the UK Society (1998-2005) and the MS International Federation (2004-2011). From 2005 until 2011 Mrs Phillips was Chairman of Victim Support nationally. She remains a local volunteer supporting victims of crime, particularly those affected by domestic violence. Among other activities, Mrs Phillips served for 13 years as a non-executive director of an NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust in North Essex.  In 2005 she was awarded an OBE for services to disability and made a Deputy Lieutenant for Essex. Mrs Phillips lives in in East Anglia, near Colchester. 

Ryan Campbell, Demelza’s Chief Executive, said: “We have been immensely fortunate to have had Sarah with us for the past six years. We are very grateful for the invaluable contribution she has made. Since arriving at Demelza in 2012, Sarah has established a high performing board of trustees who are deeply committed to making Demelza even more effective. Sarah will be handing over to our new Chairman David Highton and we are confident he will build on Sarah’s great work so that we can continue to meet the future needs of the children and families we support.”

David Highton is currently Chair of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and was previously Chief Executive Officer of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust and Chief Executive Officer of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust.