We’re a registered charity caring for children and young adults with life-limiting conditions, and their families
The charity takes its name from a young local girl, Donna Louise Hackney. Donna Louise died in 1997, aged just 16. She was only three months old when her parents got the devastating news that she had cystic fibrosis and would need round-the-clock treatment for the rest of her short life.
In 1999, her mum was asked to write her story and something about Donna’s bubbly nature struck a chord with the committee working to set up a local children’s hospice. The Donna Louise was named in her memory.
Her mum explained, “When I went to look around I was so impressed. It really is a fantastic facility. Donna would have loved it and been right in the thick of things. At the time, she was a typical teenager and didn’t want any fuss, but I think she would have really enjoyed going there. It would have benefited us so much.
"When you have a child with a serious illness, you feel like you are on your own, and back when Donna died, we were. If only The Donna Louise had existed back then, I think things would have been very different."
As the fundraising for a purpose built hospice continued, a community nursing team was established in 2002 to provide care for children and their families in their own homes. By August 2003, the Hospice building was finished and fully-equipped and we opened our doors to families on August 4th 2003.
In March 2021 The Donna Louise was amalgamated into Douglas Macmillan Hospice (Dougie Mac), after initial plans were announced in March 2020. Now operating as one hospice, Dougie Mac will offer a broad spectrum of palliative and end of life care services for children and adults across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.
Our Care Team
Our professional and dedicated Care Team members provide a whole range of services and support to our children and their families, both in the House and at families' homes. Click here to find out more information on how we care.
Senior Management Team
Dot Gillespie - Director of Care
The Lord Stafford DL
"As a parent, one feels vulnerable when your child is ill. Unless you have direct knowledge, one cannot understand the suffering families go through with terminally ill children."
"It’s a privilege for me to be a patron of The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice. It makes a real difference to these children, whose lives have been tragically limited and I will continue to lend my support."
The following former Trustees are honoured for their outstanding contribution to the charity and have taken
up the role of Vice-Patron:
WILLIAM ALDERTON - Treasurer
(March 2005 to September 2010)
JULIE ARKLE – Trustee, Chairman Income Generation Committee
(March 2009 to September 2017)
CHRISTOPHER BARRY - Trustee, Chairman Income Generation Committee
(March 2005 to September 2013)
DAVID BROOKFIELD – Trustee, Chairman Clinical Governance Committee
(November 2011 to September 2017)
DR GORDON CARPENTER - Trustee, Chairman of Board
(April 1999 - October 2014)
DAVID CARR OBE. - Trustee, Finance Committee
(September 2007 - September 2016)
DAVID MILBURN - Trustee, Chairman Finance Committee, Chairman of Board
(September 1999 - September 2015)
JOHN TYLER - Trustee, Chairman Health & Safety Committee
(March 2006 - October 2014)
The Fundraising Team
Meet our Champions
BAFTA-winning comedian Jo Brand brings a smile to people's faces - and this includes children at The Donna Louise Children's Hospice.
Born in Kent, Jo's first job was at a Dr Barnado's home - following in the footsteps of her mother who was a social worker.
Having been a nurse, Jo has real empathy for both staff and children at the Hospice and urges others to help in raising funds.
She said: "I can't imagine what it must be like to be in a position of one of the families that uses the Hospice.
"A hospice is an expensive place to run. When I visited I spent time talking to staff and families and what is clear is how important this service is to them.
"We really need to look after children and their families and give them support and I am delighted to help in any way I can."
Potteries stage star, Jonathan Wilkes, brings a touch of magic to the Hospice whether he is in panto costume, making a personal visit or supporting one of our events.
The Baddley- Green born star is a committed supporter of The Donna Louise and is a big hit with all the children and families.
Jonathan's TV career has included presenting ITV's You've Been Framed, Love on a Saturday Night and Celebrity Stars in their Eyes.
“The Donna Louise is the charity that is closest to my heart. It is a special, special place and I will do everything I can to support the charity.”
Potteries-born TV presenter Nick Hancock is a well-known Stoke City supporter and an avid supporter of The Donna Louise Children's Hospice.
He uses his Stoke City supporter status to encourage fans to make donations and encourages others to follow in his footsteps.
Nick has enjoyed a varied TV career, which has included appearing in an episode of Mr Bean and The Outsiders as well as a host of other shows.
He said: "I've been involved with The Donna Louise Children's Hospice for some time now and visit whenever I get the chance.
"What always strikes me is what a happy place it is and how at home the children and families are here.
"Such an important part of the work they do at the Hospice is to help make the children's lives as happy and comfortable as possible.
"People need to be kept aware of what goes on here and the important work that is being done."
Glamorous Staffordshire-born soap star, Rachel Shenton, plays an active part supporting the Hospice.
As well as officially opening the Charity's Superstore "Your Shop" she supports the annual 10K and 5K Charity Fun Run.
Rachel said: "I grew up in Staffordshire and my family live here so I'm delighted to get involved and do all I can to help. It's a real honour and privilege to be involved and doing something to help. The work the Hospice does is invaluable.
"The staff have such an amazing impact on the lives of the children and their families. The work the Hospice does is incredible and it gets such a small percentage of Government funding."
Phil 'The Power' Taylor
World darts champion Phil Taylor scored a real bulls eye when he became a Champion for the hospice.
Phil was introduced to the Charity by his friend Pete Williams, dad of the charity patron Robbie Williams.
Phil nurtured his love of playing darts in the pubs in Stoke-on-Trent while working in the ceramics industry after leaving school.
He caught the eye of Eric Bristow and in 1990 met his mentor Eric Bristow in the World Championships, beating him six sets to one, claiming a world title.
“The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice cares for children with life-threatening illnesses and what is better is that they care for the families as well.”
Premier League footballer, Rory Delap, is on the ball with his current signing - as a Champion with the hospice.
A midfielder, the English-born Irish footballer is renowned for his long throw-ins which probably go back to his days as a talented javelin thrower in his youth.
The father-of-three is a regular visitor to the Hospice where he not only takes time out to see the children, but also takes part in fundraising.
Rory took part in a 172-mile bike challenge to raise £2,000 and a 200-mile ride from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Edinburgh over three days.
He said: "I first visited the Hospice at Christmas 2006 with the rest of the Stoke City team and my first impression was how happy the kids were. The atmosphere, surroundings and staff are top class, considering the unfortunate situations the kids and their families are having to deal with.
"Having three young children myself, it really hits home what these families go through. We should all do what we can to support The Donna Louise Children's Hospice."
Adam Peaty MBE
Uttoxeter-born British swimmer, Adam Peaty MBE is looking forward to lending his support to The Donna Louise in whatever way he can.
Adam made history at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when he became the first British man to win an Olympic swimming Gold medal for 28 years, since Adrian Moorhouse in Seoul 1988.
As a very young child, Adam was terrified of water. He hated the pool and used to climb up his mum's arms whenever they went swimming.
Fear eventually turned into a passion for swimming, and at 15, Adam decided he wanted to devote himself to the sport.
Adam continued to dominate in the pool, becoming the first man to go under 58 seconds in the 100m Breaststroke, setting a new World Record of 57.92 secs. He went on to win medal after medal and set new World Records.
At the Olympic Games in Rio, Adam made history when he became Olympic champion in the 100m Breaststroke, winning GB's first medal of Rio 2016 and smashing his own world record in the process with a time of 57.13 seconds, before going on to win Silver in the 4x100m Medley Relay – with the fastest Breaststroke split in history of 56.59s – making this the best ever Olympics for British Swimming since 1908.
Having visited the hospice, Adam said: "Visiting The Donna Louise has really opened my eyes to the wonderful care and support they give to children and their families. It's amazing news that they will be opening a unit for young adults and I look forward to helping them any way I can."
Sir Lee Pearson CBE
Cheddleton's Sir Lee Pearson CBE is a well-known figure in the world of Paralympic equestrian sport, and is a passionate advocate and campaigner for people with disabilities. He is also an ambassador for several high-profile charities across the Midlands.
Sir Lee Pearson was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenital, which left his limbs bent and warped. He first came to public attention at the age of six, (by which time he had already undergone 15 operations), when Margaret Thatcher carried him up the staircase of 10 Downing Street to receive his 1980 Children of Courage Award, melting the Iron Lady's heart with his cheeky grin and delighted chuckles.
Growing up with a disability, Sir Lee has faced and overcome many challenges in his life and has grown into one of the nation's most successful sportsmen - having won a staggering total of 35 medals, 11 of which are Paralympic golds.
Sir Lee was inspired to support The Donna Louise charity following a recent visit to the hospice where he learned more about the expansion plans for a young adult service. During this visit, he spent time chatting to staff and children at the hospice. Sir Lee also met three young people who will stand to benefit from this new service.
He said: "I was incredibly moved and inspired to see the great work being done at The Donna Louise and to meet the staff, children and young people who benefit from the work of this incredible charity. I am particularly proud to support local charities like The Donna Louise that help local people."