A celebration was held at the children’s ward at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) this week to mark the final donation from the Caroline Thorpe Children’s Fund after 45 years of support.
Former North Devon Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe set up the Caroline Thorpe Children’s Fund in 1971 in memory of his first wife Caroline, who was tragically killed in a motor accident in 1970. Following the death of Jeremy in 2014 and the closure of the charity earlier this month, the final donation from this fund was given to Caroline Thorpe Ward this week.
Two trustees of the fund, the Countess of Arran and Richard Prowse, came to Caroline Thorpe Ward on 28 February to present the final donation of £11,748.08 to staff and to celebrate all the years of generous funding given by the charity. Dr Alan Bosley, retired paediatrician, gave a speech about the kindness of the Thorpe family and what the fund has meant for all those who benefited from it.
Anita Chin, ward manager of Caroline Thorpe Ward, added: “We would like to thank the trustees of the fund for their kind and generous support over the last 45 years.
“The ward has benefitted so much from the charity’s donations, and so have the children and their families.”
The Caroline Thorpe Children’s Fund was set up by Jeremy Thorpe to support children in Devon and has helped many children and their families since it began. The fund has helped with such things as purchasing medical equipment, adaptations to a home for a disabled young person, and travelling expenses for parents of children sent to specialist centres for treatment. The fund enabled one terminally ill teenager to travel by limo to Saunton to see the sea.
Julie Whitton, fundraising officer for Over and Above, said: “The support from the Caroline Thorpe Children’s Fund has been incredible and we are really grateful to the late Jeremy Thorpe for setting up the fund in memory of his wife.
“The name Caroline Thorpe will always mean a great deal to us, and it will continue to be the name of the children’s ward at the Hospital.”
At NDDH, the children’s ward was named Caroline Thorpe Ward in memory of her, and there is also a bust of her holding her son Rupert at the entrance to the ward. There is also a painting of Caroline on Lundy Island on the ward, a gift from Jeremy that shows his wife in one of her favourite places in North Devon.
The NDDH Caroline Thorpe Trust fund remains in place; it is the Caroline Thorpe Children’s Fund that was set up by the late Jeremy Thorpe that has now closed.
Jeremy Thorpe was voted Liberal MP for North Devon in 1959 and during his political career he championed a number of local issues, resulting in the creation of NDDH, the link road between North Devon and the motorway, and the saving of the Barnstaple to Exeter railway link.