Fond farewell to Apuldram Centre founder

A FOUNDING member of two charities helping people with disabilities to live more independent lives has died.

Mavis Miles, died on October 16.

She was fundamental in setting up the Apuldram Centre, acting as chairman of the board of directors for many years. She was also one of the co-founders of the Aldingbourne Country Centre.

Along with a small group of dedicated parents, Mavis formed a committee to start the Apuldram Centre in 1989.

They leased Common Farm, in Apuldram Lane, Fishbourne, later purchasing it from West Sussex County Council.

“This small band of parents initially set about the challenging task of turning a group of farm buildings and a small house into a day centre for people with learning disabilities,” said Mavis’ son John Miles. “Working at the centre in the early days was cold, uncomfortable and understaffed.”

He said Mavis’ ‘great strength’ was her ‘tireless and tenacious’ pursuit of county council sponsorships for clients who wanted to work at the centre.

“She never lost sight of the centre’s aim which is to provide a meaningful day’s work geared to the ability of each individual client,” said John.

“It was these hard-won sponsorships that ensured the financial viability of the centre.

“She did not easily take no for an answer and the centre as it is today owes a debt of gratitude for her vision of what could be achieved, and for her strength of character and perseverance that went into the achievement of that vision.

“She leaves behind a legacy for which she will always be remembered.”