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BusinessChair of Manchester Children's Hospice Retires after 31 Years of Service

Chair of Manchester Children’s Hospice Retires after 31 Years of Service

*Manchester, UK – After an incredible 31-year journey as a trustee at Francis House Children’s Hospice, Chris Roberts has announced his retirement from his role as Chair. The news, which was confirmed at a trustee meeting on October 5, marks the end of an era for this beloved institution dedicated to supporting children with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Mr. Roberts joined Francis House in 1992, initially as a trustee, but he quickly became an integral part of the organization. In 2014, he assumed the role of Chair, succeeding Robin Wood after his retirement. His tenure as Chair spanned nine years, during which he presided over a period of remarkable growth and development within the hospice.

Established in 1990, Francis House was created to provide vital support to the families of children with life-limiting conditions throughout Greater Manchester. It opened its doors in 1991, becoming only the fifth children’s hospice to be constructed in the entire United Kingdom.

David Ireland, CEO of Francis House, Jane Kempler the new Chair of Francis House and Sharon Doodson, Director of Care
David Ireland, CEO of Francis House, Jane Kempler the new Chair of Francis House and Sharon Doodson, Director of Care

One of the most significant achievements during Chris Roberts’ leadership was the development of two residential properties intended to serve as permanent residences for young people with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. These groundbreaking projects, located in Didsbury and Heaton Moor and operated by Francis House Families Ltd, offer a comfortable and supportive living environment to a dozen young individuals.

With Chris Roberts stepping down as Chair, Jane Kempler has been elected as the new Chair to lead the organization forward. Ms. Kempler joined the board of trustees in 2020 after retiring from a corporate career with extensive experience in operational management of call centers, sales, and customer service.

Reflecting on his tenure, Chris Roberts said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to be involved at Francis House. The devotion of the staff to the young people and their parents is inspirational to say the least.” He recalled his first impression of the hospice, where he witnessed the spirit and joy of a young girl named Kirsty Howard, whose experience embodied the essence of Francis House. He praised the hospice’s unique ability to provide a service that cannot be found elsewhere.

Acknowledging the contributions of others, Chris Roberts extended his gratitude to David Ireland and his team for their vision and hard work, as well as to the staff, young individuals, and volunteers who have made Francis House a truly wonderful place. He also thanked the fellow trustees, including Martin Lochery, who is retiring alongside him.

Jane Kempler, the incoming Chair, expressed her gratitude to Chris Roberts for his years of service and mentorship. She emphasized the diverse levels of care that Francis House provides, ranging from clinical to emotional, psychological, and spiritual support. Jane looks forward to working with the Francis House team and her fellow trustees in guiding the hospice through its next phase.

David Ireland, Chief Executive of Francis House, acknowledged the immense contributions of both Chris Roberts and Martin Lochery to the organization. He commended their wise advice and unwavering support throughout the years and wished them long and healthy retirements.

As Francis House embarks on the next phase of its history under the leadership of Jane Kempler, the hospice continues to play a crucial role in the community, providing comprehensive care to families in need.

For more information about Francis House and its mission, please visit www.francishouse.org.uk

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