THE RETIRING chief executive of Acorns Children’s Hospice has described his decade at the Worcester charity as a ‘humbling experience’ he is forever indebted to.
David Strudley, who steps down from his role this Friday (October 21), has steered the organisation through significant changes and challenging times since joining in 2006 and has seen the number of children being cared for almost doubled.
The former soldier, who spent 35 years serving in Northern Ireland, set the charity’s vision of caring for 1,000 children by 2020 and providing support to more than 1,350 families, including those who are bereaved.
And despite Toby Porter being appointed as the charity’s new chief executive, Mr Strudley will continue with his coaching and mentoring activities and intends to continue to chair the ‘Together for Short Lives UK Transition Taskforce’, as it enters its third full year of operations.
He is also conducting research to write a book on children’s hospices.
“Acorns is truly the best children’s hospice in the world. I knew once joining a decade ago, I’d spend the rest of my working life there,” said Mr Strudley.
“One of the most key things I’ve learnt is the hospice depends on lots of other people, from the levels of clinical expertise of the wonderful team of doctors and nurses, to the wider community who help us to provide care and support to the children who need it.
“We need £10million a year to continue providing vital care across the West Midlands and we achieve it through our powerful fund-raising team, 400 full time staff and army of volunteers.
“A lot has changed since I joined. We’ve went from caring for 450 children to 850 children. The growth has been overwhelming. We always had this vision and it’s been amazing to see.
“It’s been a humbling experience and despite stepping down I’m ambitious for the hospice to get bigger and better.
“Ultimately, my legacy is leaving behind a charity where no matter who you are within the hospice, you’re all working towards the only thing that really matters – to provide care and support to children and their families,” he added.