We are very sorry to have to report that Janice Kent, who became a tower of strength for people with ME/CFS after founding the reMEmber group with husband Bill, died peacefully in hospital after a short illness on 18th September.
For their impact on the ME/CFS world both locally in Mid-Sussex and nationally, reMEmber received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2015.
It was based at their home in Hurstpierpoint, which they used as a springboard to achieve wider influence through joint working with both Forward ME and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on ME at Westminster.
Our medical adviser, Dr Charles Shepherd, this week spoke fondly about his friendship with Mr and Mrs Kent:
“On a personal basis I will always remember our friendship and the superb hospitality from Janice and Bill whenever I used to go down to Sussex to speak at the annual reMEmber medical conferences.”
MEA chairman Neil Riley added: “Janice was one of those lovely people whom you take to straight away. There was a welcoming smile, her eyes sparkled and there was that ability to draw you in and make you care. She understood what it was like to have our illness and worked so hard to help all those in the ME/CFS community. She will be sorely missed.”
The couple formed reMEmber in 1999, after Janice realised there was very little support for anybody with ME/CFS in their part of the world and that somebody had to do something about it. It quickly became a watering hole for local knowledge and expertise, supported by medical specialists who really knew their stuff.
Among regular speakers were Dr Shepherd, infectious diseases consultant Dr William Weir, Dr Nina Muirhead, the dermatological surgeon who heads Doctors with ME, and immunologist Dr Amolak Bansal.
Bill and Janice quietly retired from reMEmber earlier this year when Richard Burrows, owner of Danny House at Hurstpierpoint and chairman of trustees at reMEmber, honoured them with a tea party at his home. We hope to publish a fuller obituary for Janice later this week.
Friends and colleagues gathered at Danny House earlier this year to wish Janice and Bill a long and happy retirement. Photo by Melanie Cherriman.