Billionaire Trevor Hemmings has officially opened a new playground at the children’s hospice, Rebecca House.
He was joined by the Hospice’s Young Ambassador, Dylan Walton.
Mr Hemmings made a significant donation towards the funds that Dylan Walton - who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), a type of brain injury that affects premature infants - raised for the playground, on behalf of The TJH Foundation.
In 2020, nine-year-old Dylan, who has been referred to Rebecca House since 2013, decided to take on the challenge of climbing Snaefell to help raise funds for the playground which is fun, safe and specific towards the needs of the children at Rebecca House.
The new playground is named ’Dylan’s Playground’ features equipment that children who are living with life-limiting conditions can enjoy completely free from restrictions.
Since it opened 2007, Rebecca House has extended support to many of the island’s most vulnerable children.
The renovations undergone over the last 18 months have ensured that Rebecca House has been modernised and is now better equipped to meet advancing disability regulations.
Anne Mills, chief executive of Hospice Isle of Man, said: ’We were absolutely delighted to hear of the support that Trevor Hemmings gave us through The TJH Foundation in honour of our Young Ambassador Dylan.
’It was truly an honour for us to host him at the official opening of the new Rebecca House playground.
’He and Dylan had a wonderful time together and it was fantastic to be able to show him exactly what his donation was funding, and the needs of our children and their families that he is helping to support through his generous donation
’ Thank you again to the wonderful TJH Foundation. Whilst visiting Rebecca House Mr Hemmings was so impressed by the aspiration and work of our team that he donated a further £25,000 towards much needed running costs.’
Vicky Wilson, head of children, young people and therapies at at the hospice, said: ’The new fully-inclusive playground is not only safe for the children of Rebecca house, but it also caters to their varying needs.
’It evokes fun and provides opportunities for the children to explore and develop through play. Children with disabilities are almost four times less likely to get exercise outside of school than other children.
’So, by creating a recreational space which supports those with mobility difficulties, vision impairments, hearing deficiencies, social anxieties, autism and sensory development delays, we can support the children to enjoy the freedom of a playground, like any other child.’
Mr Hemmings, who lives near Andreas, owns dozens of racehorses and two football clubs - Preston North End and Cork City.
He was one of three island residents to appear on the Sunday Times Rich List earlier this year.