CHCT is deeply saddened to learn the news of the deaths of our former trustees, The Rt Hon. Countess Mountbatten of Burma CBE CD JP DL and Dr John Denford.
For over 50 years, Countess Mountbatten played a central role in supporting the work of the Cassel Hospital. As the Great Granddaughter of Sir Ernest Cassel, who founded the Cassel in 1919, the hospital was always close to her heart. She strongly supported the hospital when it was threatened with closure and through her work as a trustee, the Trust was able to raise £3.5m to fund the building of the Children’s Centre and the Families Unit.
Clinical lead for the Cassel Hospital and Chair of the Trust, Dr Oliver Dale said: “We were all deeply saddened to hear of the death of Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who has been an inspiration and stalwart supporter of the hospital for well over 50 years.” He added, “The generosity of Sir Ernest Cassel, together with the on-going commitment from Lady Mountbatten and her family, played a very key role in the establishment of this institution, its evolution and its culture. The family’s generosity has supported our survival at times of need and helped us to continue the work that we all so strongly believe in.”
Dr John Denford worked at the Cassel Hospital over many decades, as Senior Registrar, Consultant and eventually, from 1985 to 1993, as its Director. Under his leadership, in 1990, the Cassel fought a vigorous and, in the end successful campaign, against a serious closure threat. Realising the need for outcome research to secure the future of the hospital, Dr Denford carried out a retrospective study and initiated a long-term prospective research study with the aim of providing evidence of the clinical effectiveness of the treatment provided at the hospital. He also introduced an innovative step-down treatment programme. These steps were instrumental for the survival of the Cassel up to this day. He was also the Chair of the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust during his time as Clinical Director and a trustee from when he stepped down right up until his death.
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