LATCH celebrates 40th anniversary milestone by appointing two new patrons

LATCH is launching its 40th anniversary milestone year by appointing two new patrons.

Professor Meriel Jenney, Executive Medical Director of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Mr Edward Watts MBE DL, Deputy Lieutenant of Gwent and Chair of Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO), have become our first patrons.

Professor Meriel Jenney has a long-established connection with LATCH through her work as a Consultant in Paediatric Oncology at the Children’s Hospital for Wales since 1996. Professor Jenney led the children’s cancer services in Wales for over two decades. She has a longstanding research interest in clinical trials in childhood sarcomas and the development of measures to assess the quality of life of children who have received treatment for cancer in childhood.

Mr Edward Watts MBE DL has been a volunteer for many charities for over fifty years and has a strong personal connection with LATCH, which he told us about below,

“On 12 February 2020, a beloved family member, sadly lost his battle with cancer following amputation surgery. This loss still affects me today.

“The way LATCH brought his dreams into reality in the short time he had, the tremendous things they did, was clearly over and above what would be expected of a charity. I am always moved by the empathy the LATCH Team showed to patients and parents, which is of vital importance to people when they need it the most. It feels like they put their arms around the whole family.”

Over the past forty years due to the outstanding fundraising of our supporters, LATCH has provided over £15 million to provide services to children and families in West, South, East and Mid Wales. Today, the charity helps on average 120 families at any one time. The charity works in partnership with the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to provide holistic support to children and families under the care of the Paediatric Oncology Unit.

Mrs Susan Gwyer-Roberts, Chair of LATCH said: “We are delighted to welcome Edward and Meriel as the charity’s patrons as we launch our celebrations marking this important anniversary milestone for the charity. We thank them for accepting this high-profile role and we look forward to their contribution to the future development of LATCH. These roles will complement further the dedication and proactive commitment of our loyal supporters which is a key feature of the charity since its creation in 1983 at Llandough Hospital.

“Reflecting on my appointment in 2019 as Chair or Trustees, the journey has provided a range of experiences and emotions for me, discovering what is at the heart of LATCH, its core values, aims and objectives. It has been a privilege to meet such committed medical and personnel teams and outreach workers in the Children’s Hospital for Wales, and to witness the amazing dedication and support of the LATCH social workers, the administrative team and the devotion and care of our parents for their children in such difficult circumstances.”

In addition to its family services, LATCH has supported a range of capital investments projects at the Children’s Hospital for Wales, including in 2021 a £1.2m major refurbishment of Rainbow Ward, the lead centre for paediatric oncology in South and West Wales.

Mrs Gwyer-Roberts continued: “This investment by the charity was able to confirm its commitment to support patients, their families and the clinicians through the transformation of Rainbow Ward. LATCH’s mission is to continue build on these achievements in the next 40 years.”

To mark the 40th anniversary LATCH will be arranging a series of events and activities. Please do get in touch if you would like to support us in our special anniversary year by emailing: [email protected]

Did you know?

· Incidence of childhood cancer are on the rise by approximately 15% per annum.

· There are approximately 80 new paediatric cancer diagnoses in South Wales per year.

· Approximately £20 million raised for LATCH by the public through donations and fundraising over forty years.

· LATCH provides a vital social work service – specifically the funding for a dedicated team of three social workers who specialise in the issues facing the families of children receiving treatment for cancer and leukaemia. The LATCH social work team is there to provide practical, emotional and financial support in a confidential environment.

· LATCH also provides a range of financial support through grants – this can be for travel, food, even rent in some cases. When a child goes through cancer or leukaemia treatment, families often face higher heating bills for example, and many parents have to give up work to care for a sick child. Over £5 million has been provided to families as direct financial grants over the past forty years.

· LATCH also offers holiday grants or the option to use the charity’s three holiday caravans, and provides a number of excursions for children to Lego Land, Build a Bear and other venues to provide a touch of normality or a well needed escape from ongoing treatment.


Professor Meriel Jenney and Mr Edward Watts MBE DL.

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