Vitalise celebrates 50th Anniversary with Open Days

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11th July 2013

Vitalise centres hold Open Days to mark charity’s Golden Jubilee

Vitalise celebrated its Golden Jubilee in fine style this week, with special Open Days at its three centres to commemorate the charity’s 50th birthday.

Jubilee Lodge started the ball rolling with an Open Day Garden Party on Tuesday, then Netley Waterside House followed suit on Wednesday. Today Sandpipers hosted the final Open Day, commemorating Vitalise’s 50th Anniversary and the centre’s 25th birthday.

Specially invited visitors joined the centres’ guests, volunteers and staff at the Open Days to celebrate Vitalise’s historic milestone and enjoy afternoons of live music, table magic, drinks, barbecues, buffets, birthday cakes, video screenings, speeches and more.

Vitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds attended all three Open Days and was joined by Vitalise Trustees, among them Chair of Trustees Mindy Sawhney, Linda Beaney, Richard Poxton and Tim Prideaux.

The Open Days took place during special ‘Happy Birthday’ weeks at the three centres, organised to mark the 50th Anniversary of the charity’s foundation on 8 July 1963 at Grange Farm in Chigwell, now the site of Jubilee Lodge.

The Vitalise Trustees delivered a specially written keynote speech at each Open Day to pay tribute to Vitalise’s founding trustee, the late Joan Brander MBE, and all those individuals whose efforts helped sustain Vitalise over the years and continue to sustain it today.

At Jubilee Lodge, Linda Beaney said:

“It all started on this very spot five decades ago. Joan Brander had a dream of a place where people with disabilities could enjoy a much-needed change of scene and their carers could take vital time out from caring. It was through the efforts of Joan and her fellow funding trustees that Vitalise’s first centre came into being here at Grange Farm.”

At Netley, Trustee Richard Poxton continued:

“This Open Day is a celebration of five decades of achievement, but it’s also a thank you to all the pioneering individuals past and present who helped transform this charity from its humblest beginnings into the Vitalise we know and love today. Long may it continue!”

At Sandpipers, Tim Prideaux concluded:

“I would like to finish with the words of our founder Joan Brander: ‘Duty will often carry a problem along on wheels, but only love will carry it on wings, and only on wings will it be carried successfully.’ I think it would be safe to say that now – on our 50th birthday – Vitalise is flying.”

Vitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds commented:

“The spirit of Vitalise is sustained by the passion, commitment and generosity of our staff, volunteers, supporters and friends. You are the people who carry us forward to bigger and better things. We would not be the charity we are today without you.

“Over the last five decades we have achieved so much and made so many friends along the way. We are now looking forward to our next half century with the same optimism and determination as we did all those years ago.

“Vitalise was founded exactly 50 years ago to help restore hope and dignity. We hope the people of the UK will join us in our Golden Jubilee celebrations and support us for 50 more years to come.”

Among the many guests paying tribute to Vitalise was Jubilee Lodge guest Linda Young, 50, of Cambridge, who said:

“This has been a perfect day with lovely weather. It’s very special for me because I celebrated my 50th birthday as well this year! Vitalise has been very important to me because it allows me to have a break and do different things and see different people and meet our wonderful volunteers from all over the world. It’s such a blessing to us, it’s like coming home to a second family when I come here.”

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