OXFORD'S children's hospice has nominated an Abingdon hotel’s manager for the Individual Award in 2019 Oxfordshire Local Business Charity Awards.

Keeley Dennychene is a sales manager with extensive experience in the tourism and hospitality industries.

She has worked for numerous hotels in Oxfordshire and for the non-profit organisation Tourism South East.

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For more than a year now she has been sales director at Abingdon's new Hilton Garden Inn.

But there is another the executive businesswoman: Ms Dennyschene is also a devoted supporter of Helen and Douglas House, the unique charity which runs the UK’s first hospice for children and young people in East Oxford.

In its nomination, the hospice names Ms Dennychene its 'local business superhero'.

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The charity’s fundraising manager Lucy Walker wrote: “The world of fundraising is challenging.

“You have times when it feels like everyone say’s ‘no’; and when you see the real impact your charity has to families it’s hard not to take this to heart.

“When you work in this field you need those gold hearted superstars to keep your head up and remind you they are there behind your charity.

“Keeley Dennyschene is one of those people.”

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Ms Walker enumerated the fundraising efforts the Hilton’s manager and the institution behind her had undertaken, including the fact that she was one of ten Oxfordshire businesspeople ‘imprisoned’ for a day at Oxford Castle's Jail and Bail event earlier this year and raised £700 to be ‘released’.

Thanks to her the Hilton has also donated 100 nights to Helen and Douglas House, so the hotel hosts the hospice patients' families free of charge.

Ms Walker wrote: “Keeley got me in to present to her new team, so I could motivate the team to be as passionate about Helen & Douglas House as she is.

“This lead to the team doing one of our Helen House shop takeovers: her team split up in to two and competed to increase takings in our charity shops.

“Keeley gave her team so much time and support and meant the teams raised nearly £2,000.”

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But what gives a better impression of Ms Dennychene’s personal involvement is what she did during a pamper day for some of the hospice patients' mums.

Ms Walker: “Keeley came along and gave our mums manicures.

“It may be small, but when you are caring for a terminally ill child, painting your nails is such a treat.”

Helen House was launched in 1982 and was the world-first hospice specialising in taking care of young patients. It has grown over the years and now - as Helen and Douglas House - has to raise over £3 million annually for its operation.

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The story of a child who died only five days after birth gives a glimpse into the charity’s mission.

Martha was born in a critical condition, having been deprived of oxygen due to a concealed placental abruption, and she passed away in her mum’s arms at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. On the same evening the family was transferred to Helen and Douglas House, where they were looked after as a family for a few days, giving them the chance to spend time together and to say goodbye.

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Martha’s mum Sophie said: “Being in such a comfortable but protected environment we could come to terms with what had happened. I think if we hadn’t had that it would be such a sudden end. We would have come home without a baby and that would have been it. That transition was so valuable.

“When you are in a situation like that, when you are so tired, when you are so emotionally drained, someone offering you support is so important.”

Keeley Dennychene is one of three individuals and six businesses nominated in this year’s Oxforshire Local Business Charity Awards sponsored by insurance brokers Jelf and A-plan with the Oxford Mail’s media partnership.

To enter, charities had to nominate an Oxfordshire business or individual, who had done an outstanding job supporting them. If their nominated business wins, the charity will receive a donation of £1,000. The winner of the Individual award will receive a weekend break to the value of £300.

The finals were held last night at Worminghall. See the Oxford Mail next week for a full report.