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A tribute to John Overton

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I was very sad to hear that our good friend, and long-term children’s palliative care ambassador John Overton passed away on Saturday 2 October. John died peacefully in hospital with his wife Margaret and two sons at his side. Our thoughts are with John’s family and friends at this very sad time.

Lizzie Chambers, Director of Development and Professional Engagement at Together for Short Lives, worked closely with John Overton, when Lizzie was CEO of ACT. Lizzie pays tribute to John:

I have such fond memories of John, beginning with my interview with him for my first role at ACT back in 2001. He was a businessman with a big heart. His death is such a sad loss, but what an amazing legacy to have left behind for the children and families who have benefitted from Acorns and for the development of children’s palliative care. Those who knew him, will know John did everything with a big smile on his face – his passion to change things was infectious. He was a man who could change hearts and minds with great ease, a natural entrepreneur and fundraiser who made a very compelling case. You couldn’t say no to him!

John leaves a huge legacy to children’s hospices and children’s palliative care across the UK. John was a children’s palliative care pioneer, a man with vision and true grit determination to ensure that every family caring for a seriously ill child could access the right care and support where they live. Both in his national role as Chair of ACT, one of the two charities that joined together to become Together for Short Lives, and as CEO for Acorns Children’s Hospices, John made a lasting difference to seriously ill children and families.

John was the driving force in developing Acorns’ first children’s hospice in Birmingham, and such was his passion to reach every family who needed Acorns’ help, he later opened two additional hospice services in Walsall and Worcester. Acorns’ CEO Toby Porter has paid tribute to John Overton.

Andy Fletcher, CEO, Together for Short Lives added:

“John will be remembered fondly as a man with a big vision for seriously ill children and families. John was not only a key part of establishing Acorns Children’s Hospice but also a passionate advocate for children’s palliative care. All of us at Together for Short Lives owe John a debt of gratitude. He will be greatly missed across the children’s palliative care sector, but his legacy and vision for seriously ill children and families lives on.”

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