The opening of Chalkdown House – the most important things can in some way last forever
Today I was at the opening of a new hospital for brain injured people at Swindon, which has benefited from funds from the Huw Thatcher Trust – for the IT suite, physiotherapy equipment, kitchen equipment and the garden. It was opened by Princess Anne, with Gabby Logan also there and I was fortunate enough to be introduced to them both. As I was talking to them about Huw and the Trust, I looked up at Huw’s beautiful eyes shining down from his picture in the ‘Huw Thatcher IT Suite’ and I thought ‘forever mate………………….the most important things can in some way, last forever’.
This new hospital means that Huw Trust funds are being put to good use in locations like Swindon – just like they have been at Daniel Yorath House and Osman House here in Yorkshire – and they will be later this year for Richard Ford from Holmfirth, who suffered a severe stroke nearly 12 months ago. The legacy of Huw Thatcher shines on – in Yorkshire and beyond – thanks to the efforts and dedication of so many people who are reading this message……..his many wonderful friends and his family ♥. As ever, the BIRT charity are very grateful to everyone who has contributed to everything we have done together.
The pride I felt at seeing the brass plaque on the door of The Huw Thatcher IT Suite at Chalkdown House and the beautiful framed picture of him on the wall, was matched by the hope I felt when I met service users – like Leo McCarthy who (formerly from the Coldstream Guards) who was injured in Iraq, and Rupert Johnson injured in a road traffic accident.
Gabby Logan came to see the IT suite and I chatted to her twice during the morning – the first time about Huw and the Trust – and the second time about football and one the teams she likes – Cardiff City! The business she works in (journalism and sport) can often be hard, but Gabby was wonderful to talk to and it was obvious to me that she is a very compassionate and kind person.
And Princess Anne was superb. We may have our own thoughts about the Royal Family but Princess Anne took time to talk to everyone – and spent well over 5 minutes in the IT Suite talking to Leo, me and BIRT staff – she was knowledgeable, kind, attentive, down to earth, and genuinely interested in what everyone has done in the Huw Thatcher Trust.
Whenever I have visited places where funds from the Huw Trust have been spent, it has felt like I have been among friends. The staff and service users are so welcoming and friendly, and I’m looking forward to the new facility in South Wales that the Huw Trust will also be involved with.
Finally a short reflection from conversations today. I certainly don’t feel sorry for myself – emotional sometimes of course – but not sorry for myself. Having met Rupert and Leo today, and having met Richard Ford several times now in Holmfirth, the sorrow I feel is for Huw, and these other victims of brain injuries. And that is the focus of the Huw Thatcher Trust – positive thinking and a real benefit to those who live with the effects of brain injuries – a lasting legacy to our beautiful boy ♥ ♥ ♥
The Huw Thatcher Trust Facebook Group is here