Petersfield charity celebrates 60 years

By Jon Walker   |   Senior reporter   |
Sunday 1st May 2022 1:34 pm
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Elizabeth Fitzroy with her son Michael

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A PETERSFIELD charity for those with learning difficulties is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

FitzRoy in Hylton Road was founded by Elizabeth FitzRoy, in 1962 when she set up Donec Mews at Grayshott with John Williams.

This came after Elizabeth adopted a young boy, Michael, who had Down’s Syndrome, while John’s son Huw also had severe learning difficulties.

Then most adults with learning disabilities lived their lives in homes often ostracised from their communities.

Elizabeth wanted Michael to be able to do the things he loved and be part of the community. Similarly, John and his wife were determined not to put Huw into an institution.

Sixty years on, demand for FitzRoy homes and services is bigger than ever, and the charity now supports more than 700 people with learning disabilities in over 70 homes and services across England.

A spokesman said: “Elizabeth’s values remain the values of today – we see the person, we are brave and we are creative – and this threads through everything we do.”

At the celebratory evening in Petersfied Museum on Tuesday, May 10, will be a lifelong resident of Donec Mews.

Phillipa’s sister Caroline said: “It has always been a very happy home for Phillipa, thanks to the love and dedication of the staff.

“Phillipa lives such a fulfilled life at Donec, from annual holidays to theatre outings to wrestling matches! Now she has reached her 65th year, she is content with taking life at a slower pace.”

Keith Goffe will also be there – he and his late wife set up the Petersfield Society for Special Needs (PSSN) in 1971 as the first ever playgroup for toddlers with special needs in Petersfield.

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