We understand that one of the most devastating things you can face as a parent is learning your child has a life-threatening or life-limiting illness. That’s why our mission is to take care of your immediate practical needs so you can focus on your child and the medical decisions associated with their care when they are in hospital.
We also support and promote research into brain cancer. Learn more.
Evie was born in 2004, and what marked her out from an early age was her sense of humour and kindness. She had a gift for sensing if someone was sad without them having to say and knew instinctively how to comfort them. She also understood that nobody was better than anyone else, that everybody was equally deserving of respect. That’s why she challenged racism at school, it’s why she took the time to check her deaf classmate had understood the lesson after every class, it’s why she supported a child who was being bullied to seek help.
Evie was smart. She won a scholarship to the Royal High School Bath after being awarded the prize for Highest Academic Achievement in her final year of primary school. She particularly loved science and anything to do with space. She also played the saxophone, swam for her club, and played table tennis for the Wiltshire under-18s. At twelve, she entered a competition, writing a novel called Written by the Stars, the story of two girls who refuse to adhere to patriarchal traditions and vow to define their own path in life. It was published in 2018 and can be purchased here.
Evie became unwell during a family holiday to Spain in October 2017. After being taken to A&E in the early hours of the morning, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Two life-saving operations in San Sebastian and a week in an induced coma followed, after which she was flown home by air ambulance and admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Evie’s tumour was very aggressive, and despite two more operations and a plan to give her both chemo and radiotherapies concurrently, the decision was made to bring her home to be with her family and her cats. Sadly, she died on 11th January 2018.
Evie’s Gift was set up in her memory, as a living testament to her courage and determination to be of service. Evie cared deeply about her friends, her family, and the people around her. At thirteen, she was developing an understanding of the wider world, learning that many people were less fortunate than her, and questioning why. She wanted to be part of the solution. Her compassionate nature was the inspiration for Evie’s Gift, and the charity is powered by her spirit of friendship, kindness, and humour. Her legacy lives on in the work we do today, through each and every family we support.
Why we Exist
When our founder, Bryan, was in hospital during Evie’s illness, he became aware that some parents were sleeping in their cars, or in chairs on the ward. He learned that while hospitals treating critically ill children have accommodation on site for parents to stay whilst their child is receiving treatment, these facilities are also over-subscribed, meaning there isn’t room for everyone.
That’s why Bryan saw a need for a charity like Evie’s Gift; to help support parents and carers who don’t live near the hospital by paying for hotel accommodation close-by. We also assist with travel costs and food costs because we understand that travelling back and forth to hospital as well as buying food several times a day can be expensive.
We know it feels overwhelming when your son or daughter goes into hospital, and it’s common for parents to neglect their own needs when it happens. We’re here to support you with the essentials so you can focus on your child.
Chairman & Founder of Evie's Gift
Bryan was a Royal Air Force operational assault pilot for the first twenty years of his career. During this time, he was deployed to the Falkland Islands and the Gulf and also led the first three-ship Hercules Formation into Kosova ahead of the Russian Advance. Following the death of his father in 2001, Bryan switched careers and joined Help the Aged as Head of Services, Innovation and Development. He subsequently worked for The Royal British Legion before joining Elizabeth Finn Care as Director of Grants, a role he held until 2015. He is currently the CEO of grant-making charity, Rainy Day Trust. Bryan is also a trustee of youth charity, 4Youth (South-West) and a mentor to servicemen & women wishing to pivot into the charity sector.
Chris began his career in the charity sector in 2009, initially working as a project worker in a homeless hostel. He went on to work as a housing support worker, a mental health advocate for LGBTQ+ young people, and as part of the grant-making team for a national anti-poverty charity. More recently, Chris worked as a grants manager for a philanthropic foundation before joining Evie’s Gift as charity manager in 2022.
Dawn began her career in the social care sector working with refugees and asylum seekers in front-line roles, before going on to support people reintegrating into the community following their release from prison. She subsequently managed services serving the homeless community, women fleeing domestic violence, those with disabilities, and older people. Latterly, Dawn worked in Housing as a Funding Manager, then headed a large team in benevolent grant-making for thirteen years prior to her retirement in 2021. She remains an advisor to two grant committees for national grant-making organisations as well as a trustee for Evie’s Gift.
David was an engineer in the Royal Air Force for seventeen years before transitioning into the private sector. For the past eighteen years he has worked as a Programme Manager for QinetiQ, a Defence & Space Manufacturing company specialising in providing advice, services and innovative tech-based products to Government organisations, as well as a range of international customers. David is proud to have been Evie’s Godfather and has been a trustee of Evie’s Gift since its inception in 2018.
Lisa studied Law at Birmingham University and Chester College of Law, qualifying as a solicitor in 1993. She is currently Associate General Counsel and Head of Legal for a leading IT consultancy company, overseeing its legal teams in the UK and Ireland. Lisa is a commercial lawyer and has particular interests in technology law, IP, privacy, employment and property law, as well as a passion for complex outsourcing contracts. Lisa’s daughter was a close friend of Evie’s, and she was honoured to be asked to be a Trustee for the charity. She is also a keen marathon runner.
After obtaining a Law degree from the University of Oxford, Simon spent many years working in accountancy and financial management across a series of major corporations before becoming Director of Financial Planning & Analysis for HM Revenue & Customs in 2007. He transitioned into the charity sector in 2010, becoming Finance Director for The British Heart Foundation before taking the role of CEO at anti-poverty charity, Turn2us. He is currently Director of Finances & Corporate Resources for Versus Arthritis. Simon specialises in charity business management, which encompasses finance, risk, planning and governance. He is a regular speaker and writer on a wide range of charity issues and has been a columnist for Charity Finance magazine since 2016.
Karen worked in education throughout her career before retiring in 2019 to enjoy a more relaxed pace of life. She was the Headteacher at Evie’s primary school for over twenty years, and having built a strong relationship with her parents during Evie’s time there, was honoured to be asked to become a trustee for Evie’s Gift in 2020.
Neesha has over eighteen years of experience in fundraising, both here and in the USA. She has worked for a number of prestigious charities, including The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Atlanta Botanical Gardens and Cancer Research UK. She is currently Fundraising Manager for Carers UK, which supports 10.6 million unpaid carers across the UK through campaigning, support, and advocacy. Neesha is responsible for all elements of the charity’s voluntary income – with the exception of corporate fundraising – and focuses primarily on major donors, trusts and special events.
Saskia studied English Literature at Cambridge before entering a career in advertising in London. She later moved to Sydney, where she ran media campaigns for companies including Coca-Cola, BT and P&G at a series of leading international agencies. After returning to the UK, she transitioned into client representation for UKTV, running the Strategy & Research Department for many years before moving into Marketing and Outreach within Education in 2012. Saskia worked at the prestigious St Paul’s Girls School in London prior to joining Ipswich School, where she holds the position of Director of Marketing.