Acorns Children’s Hospice staff lined the Bath Road, Worcester today (11 December) in a touching tribute to the late Cecil Duckworth CBE.
During its commemorative tour of the City, Mr Duckworth’s funeral procession started its journey by driving past the hospice he helped to establish in 2005, before moving on to the Worcester Bosch Factory, New Road Cricket Ground and Sixways Stadium.
A crowd of Acorns staff, nurses and volunteers paid their respects as the procession moved along the road, alongside a banner which read: “Thank you Cecil Duckworth CBE, from your Acorns family. Your vision and generosity made this Worcester children’s hospice possible.”
Among those paying tribute was Acorns Chief Executive, Toby Porter. He said: “This has been a very poignant day, but also a celebration of a truly great person.
“It was a tremendous privilege for us to be able to pay our respects in this special way and today was a reflection of how much Cecil’s phenomenal vision and generosity means to Acorns.”
After hearing about Acorns through a family friend, Cecil Duckworth saw a need in the local area and helped establish Acorns Children’s Hospice on the Bath Road in 2005. The hospice now serves children and families from across Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.
Toby added: “I don’t think there have been many individuals who have done more for the City of Worcester than Cecil Duckworth. Thanks to him, Acorns is able to provide the children’s hospice care that so many families across the region need, every single year.
“Cecil was a wonderful friend to all of us. To work with him on a personal basis was a privilege and everybody at Acorns is tremendously grateful for everything he’s done.”
History of Cecil Duckworth’s Involvement with Acorns Children’s Hospice
1997 The daughter of a family friend is referred to Acorns in Birmingham and Cecil’s connection with the charity begins. Cecil sees first-hand the impact of Acorns and begins conversations with the charity’s then CEO John Overton to set the wheels in motion for a children’s hospice in Worcester.
2001 Land on the Bath Road, Worcester is donated by June and Willie Sayce to Acorns. Cecil helps complete the land transfer, subsequently donating the first £1 million towards a major appeal to build the hospice before securing the commitment of friend Sir Michael Perry to Chair what would become a hugely successful fundraising appeal.
2004 Lord Lichfield lays the foundation stone for the hospice in a ceremony attended by Cecil and June Sayce.
2005 The Duchess of Gloucester officially opens the hospice to children and families.
2007 Worcester Warriors, Acorns charity partners, launch a brand-new kit for the season which includes the Acorns logo across the chest. The Warriors kit helps inspire Aston Villa, with Acorns famously adorning the football club’s shirts the following year.
2015 Acorns for the Three Counties, Worcester celebrates its 10th anniversary caring for children and families across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.