A FORMER head of the Metropolitan Police has become chair of trustees at a children’s hospice.

Helen & Douglas House in East Oxford has welcomed Sir Ian Blair – Lord Blair of Boughton – as one of two new trustees.

The retired policeman, who sits in the House of Lords, is also a former deputy chief constable of Thames Valley Police and now chairs the crime and justice group Thames Valley Partnership.

Stating he was ‘honoured’ to take on the role, he said: “It is difficult to imagine a more significant charitable cause than the support of children with life-limiting illness and their families.

“I look forward to working with the board of trustees in continuing to deliver the mission of this ground-breaking institution.”

He will replace Elizabeth Drew as the Magdalen Road hospice’s chair of trustees, on a date yet to be confirmed.

She has fulfilled the role since 2011 and announced last year she would step down.

Lord Blair, who is a trustee of several other charities, said he hoped to get to know the hospice’s community ‘in all its fullness’.

He will join another new face, who also has a background in the justice system.

Catherine Worswick, who works on the Youth Justice Board, will become a trustee after a long association with the hospice.

She said: “I am passionate about Helen & Douglas House, having experienced first-hand the care and support which hospices provide.

“Much has changed since Helen House opened [in 1982], but the values of love and friendship on which both hospices were founded remain as important as ever.”

The pair will officially become trustees on January 23. 

The hospice recently experienced financial struggles, as reported in the Oxford Mail last year, as the charity sector becomes ever-competitive for donations.

Lord Blair admitted there were ‘challenges ahead, particularly in terms of funding’, but said he looked forward to working with trustees to ensure their services continue.

Helen & Douglas House’s CEO Clare Periton said she was ‘delighted’ to welcome the trustees, and paid tribute to Ms Drew for her ‘hard work and dedicated service’.

The outgoing chairman of trustees said it had been a ‘huge privilege’.

Ms Drew said: “I have great admiration for the charity, its ethos and those involved.

“I have the greatest respect for people who work [at the hospice] and have made the delivery of specialist palliative care possible.

“Generosity of individuals and organisations who support [us] must never be underestimated; without them, work would not continue.”