Warm tributes are paid to Bexhill founder of children’s charity, Tree of Hope, who strived to help youngsters’ families

Corinne Gardner
Corinne Gardner

The founder of a children’s charity has died.

Corinne Gardner established the Tree of Hope in 1992 in Bexhill.

She set it up initially to help two children from the area and their families in the town, gaining a great deal of support from the community.

A spokesman for the Tree of Hope said: “The charity is now national and helps families and their children across the UK and Ireland and always remained dear to Corinne’s heart.

“Corinne was life president of the Tree of Hope and she kept in contact right until the very end of her life and loved hearing about the children and their stories of hope and inspiration.

“Corinne started Tree of Hope out of a desire to help children to raise funds for treatments and services not provided freely by the UK health service and she was passionate about families being helped to raise these much needed funds.

“It was key to her that Tree of Hope would support families to gain a better quality of life for their severely ill or disabled child and that the charity would be open to all that need this help.

“As Tree of Hope evolved over the years we realised there were a lot more children out there who needed treatment and the demand for support was growing for services not ordinarily available through UK health provision.”

The spokesman said the charity today supports more than 550 families with their fundraising campaigns every year, aiming to help children get the medical help they need, such as the Crowborough-based Bishops, whose son Louis was born seven weeks prematurely with severe brain damage.

The spokesman said: “With a diagnosis of quadriplegic cerebral palsy, all four of Louis’ limbs are affected with him unable to sit up, walk or talk, as well as experiencing problems with eating and drinking.

“He requires intensive physiotherapy and hydrotherapy and a lot of specialist equipment.

“This year Tree of Hope has helped the Bishops to fundraise for essential house adaptations including a through floor lift and ceiling hoists to continue his progress and stay healthy.

“Tree of Hope’s trustees and staff send their sincerest condolences to Corinne’s family and thank her for her inspiration and dedication over the years that led to Tree of Hope being founded and being the source of support for so many families that it is today. None of this would have been possible without Corinne’s vision for changing children’s lives for the better.

“She was a wonderful, caring lady and will be greatly missed by the many people whose lives she changed.”

To find out more about the work of Tree of Hope visit www.treeofhope.org.uk.

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