TWO families hit by tragedy who were looked after by Oxford’s beloved children’s hospice have persuaded their company to donate thousands of pounds.

Phil Brown, who works at Savills’ Reading office and lives in Abingdon, came into contact with Helen & Douglas House after his son William died in 2014.

William was born on October 21 and died just over a week later on October 29.

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William was only alive for eight days, spending all of that time in the intensive care unit at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

Mr Brown said: “Our contact with Helen & Douglas House was over a short period of time, but it was tremendously helpful to my family and I.

Oxford Mail:

“William, our second child, was born a little early but subsequently died in intensive care at the John Radcliffe.

“At that time there was an arrangement with Helen & Douglas House to provide support for bereaved parents.

“My wife Cath and I came straight from the hospital to Helen & Douglas House [in Magdalen Road] where we all stayed.

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“Staff supported us in all areas, dressing William and keeping mementoes, funeral arrangements and registering the death. Grandparents were able to visit and say goodbye to William. For some time after our stay we were helped with bereavement counselling.

“The support was wonderful and unexpected and I’m delighted that Savills are able to support Helen & Douglas House and so generously.

“Today our family numbers five, our first child Jessica, Violet, Cath and I, and of course William.”

Oxford Mail:

File photo of one of Helen & Douglas House's family flats.

Nick Rees works for Savills in London and lives near Chipping Norton.

After he and his wife Kerry lost their 23-month-old daughter in 2007, they also went to Helen & Douglas House.

Mr Rees said: “Kerry and I were first introduced to Helen & Douglas House not because we had a terminally-ill child but because our first daughter, Isabel who was perfectly healthy, died very suddenly and tragically aged just 23 months in October 2007.

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“Isabel was in the John Radcliffe when she died, and one of the nurses had called Helen & Douglas House who immediately offered us the sanctuary of the Quiet Room for Isabel.

“Following Isabel’s death, Helen & Douglas House reached out to us again with the offer of bereavement counselling.

“The wonderful Marie was compassionate, kind, patient but above all understanding and we received counselling for the next two years.

Oxford Mail:

File photo of one of Helen & Douglas House's family flats.

"Without hesitation or doubt Helen & Douglas House provided my wife and I with exceptional support, kindness and care.

"We cannot thank them enough. We would be in a very different place today without Marie"

Both men asked Savills, and international real estate advisor, to make a donation to Helen & Douglas House, and the hospice said it received a ‘significant’ donation.

Amy Bottali from Helen & Douglas House said: "We would like to thank Nick and Phil for nominating us and to Savills for making this wonderful donation. Our families are feeling very isolated at the moment in lockdown with very vulnerable children so this donation will help us support them at home and at the hospice for end-of-life care."