It’s a week ago today since we gathered to wish Janice and Bill Kent the very best for the next stage of their journey – but the memories linger on!
Janice and Bill have stepped down as founder director and secretary of reMEmber and, there being no one available to take over from them, this Mid Sussex-based ME/CFS group has had to close.
But Richard Burrows, chairman of the trustees, wasn’t going to let them go without being able to thank them with a tea party in his home, Danny House – where wartime prime ministers David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill paced its magnificent halls in times gone by.
He laid on hospitality for a couple of dozen of their friends, fellow trustees and colleagues.
Danny House is tucked away in a fold of the South Downs not far Janice and Bill's home in Hurstpierpoint. It was often used as a venue for the more glamorous reMEmber events, including concerts and literary soirées. Former local MP Nicholas Soames, a grandson of Churchill, occasionally attended their events there.
Among the guests last Saturday were chairman of The ME Association Neil Riley with his wife Mary and Simon Chandler, interim chairman of Forward ME, the umbrella campaigning group.
The trustees of reMEmber have decided that the MEA will receive whatever is left in their bank account, as the ME/CFS charity closest to their own aims and objectives. Neil was able to thank them publicly for their generosity.
reMEmber was formed by Janice in 1999 and will be remembered (sorry about the pun!) by many in the local ME community for their annual medical conferences at venues around the area – at which MEA medical adviser, Dr Charles Shepherd, was a frequent star speaker. Charles was unable to be present last Saturday but sent his best wishes and apologies.
In 2015, reMEmber was presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which was the highest UK award for voluntary groups. Janice and Bill were presented to her late Majesty at a Buckingham Palace garden party held the same year.
We, at The ME Association, all wish Janice and Bill well for the future. We're sorry that you've had to close reMEmber but we'd like to keep in touch.
HUGE THANKS TO MELANIE CHERRIMAN, WHO TOOK MOST OF THE PHOTOS ON THIS PAGE.
Pictured below, clockwise from the main picture: Janice and Bill attending a Buckingham Palace garden party in 2015; receiving The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in the same year; ‘mine hosts' at reMEmber's 20th birthday party; and MEA chairman Neil Riley toasting the couple at the Danny House tea party last Saturday.