Former employee gives £100k to Acorn's Children's Hospice appeal

Erica Brown, who worked for the charity for 10 years, made the donation from money she inherited from her mother

Erica Brown, far right, at the Walsall hospice
Erica Brown, far right, at the Walsall hospice

A former staff member has donated £100,000 to an appeal by Acorn’s Children’s Hospice to secure the future of one of its hospices.

The charity, which is aiming to raise £2m to enable it to keep open its hospice in Walsall, announced today that the donation had come from Erica Brown, who began working in the children’s palliative care sector after losing twins short of their first birthdays because of a rare form of cancer.

Brown, who joined Acorns in 1999 as head of research and worked for the charity until 2009, made the donation after receiving an inheritance from her mother.

"Having worked for Acorns, I know the support the charity gives to children and families across the region is an absolute and utter lifeline to all of them," she said.

"Supporting this appeal enables me to do something that I would never have been able to do if my parents hadn’t left me a legacy.

"They worked hard all their lives and were very careful with their money. It’s thanks to them that I’ve been able to do this, and I know they would give me their blessing."

The charity, which operates three hospices in the West Midlands, said last month that it had put on hold a decision to close its Walsall hospice after a national campaign was successful in securing additional funding from the NHS.

But a campaign led by Together for Short Lives resulted in NHS England agreeing to stump up £25m of additional funding for children’s hospices.

Acorns said the move would enable it to keep the Walsall site open until at least March 2020 and give it time to launch a major public fundraising appeal to raise £2m over the next four years to save the centre.

The charity supports more than 230 children through the Walsall hospice, which employs about 60 staff.

Toby Porter, chief executive of Acorns, said the gift was a significant step towards helping the charity secure the long-term future of its Walsall hospice.

"Following her own very personal experiences, Erica has committed her life to serving children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families, as well as the organisations that support them," he said.

"This donation reflects how much Erica understands the true impact organisations such as Acorns have on those who need us."

The charity is expected to give an update on its appeal on 19 August, when it will have been running for a month.

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