A VOLUNTEER has founded a friends group to raise money for East Oxford hospice Helen and Douglas House.

Kathleen Harper, who works at the hospice’s charity shop in Didcot, is hoping to carry out fundraising activities and raise its profile.

She said: “The reason I support Helen and Douglas House and wanted to set up this friends group is because I have friends who have twin boys, Ollie and Ben, who have a life-shortening condition and are guests of Helen House.

“I have visited the house with the family and the support they all get is wonderful.”

She appealed for other people to join the group in Didcot.

Nine-year-olds Ollie and Ben Illingworth have been going to Helen House for five years for medically supported short breaks.

Their parents Mike and Fiona said: “Being here means that we have time together as a couple.

“We don’t have family that can easily look after the boys, so Helen House is our only outlet.”

The twins have no awareness of danger and can’t communicate normally, so cannot easily be left with friends. At Helen House they receive one-to-one care.

So far there are only four members and she is appealing for as many people as possible to join in to help organise and collect money at fundraising events.

The hospice, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, needs to raise £4.5m annually to keep running.

To join the group, email kharps@talktalk.net or call Janet Carruzzo on 07788 141997.