At Grosvenor, we’re always really grateful for the tireless work that charities and fundraisers do to help those who are unlucky enough to have to attend hospital for whatever reason.

Sometimes a story comes along which perfectly demonstrates the impact that fundraising can have.



On 8th August 2022, the Smith family from St Albans lost their daughter Emily to a rare brain tumour, less than two weeks after she was diagnosed.

Two days later, Sarah Smith, a primary school teacher, husband Andy, a physio,and their son Harry, aged 11 at the time, set up a JustGiving page in Emily’s memory.  Their aim was to raise money for the Addenbrooke’s teams that looked after Emily.  Within days the page had reached £5000 in donations and to date they have raised just over £30,000 with donations continuing to come in from friends, family, loved ones, Emily’s dance school and Emily’s primary school, who continue to fundraise in her memory.



Donna Lee-Willis, Head of Commmunity Fundraising for Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) told us more about the background to the story:



“The family went away on holiday and Emily was complaining of an unusual feeling in her arm.  She ended up in A and E and was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour.  She was admitted to Addenbrookes, but nothing could be done and she passed away 11 days after admission.  The family were very grateful for the care and treatment that Emily received in the hospital: with Emily about to pass away, the hospital team were pulling sofas into the area so the family could be with her in a hospice-type environment on the ward.  The family felt they would never forget that kindness so they set up a Just Giving page in Emily’s memory to make a donation on her behalf.  ACT were notified and everything was set up two days after Emily passed away.  Everyone in the charity office shared Emily’s story and within hours, the donations had gone up really quickly.

I reached out to the family and built up a really close relationship with them and it became apparent that they wanted the donations to be put towards something that would be meaningful to them personally, something specific so they knew where the money had been spent.  I met with them and said there was never any pressure for them to rush into a decision.




When Victoria Bloomfield from ACT approached me saying the X-ray department waiting room needed a refit, I felt it was the right project for the Smith family so I met the family for coffee, and when I showed them the plans, Sarah got emotional: she knew it was the perfect tribute to Emily.



The once drab waiting room was in much need of refurbishment. Going for scans made Emily quite anxious: the previous tired and rather unwelcoming area was not a pleasant place to sit at what can be an especially nerve-wracking time for some patients and the space wasn’t at all calming or child friendly.



When planning the refit, Grosvenor Interiors wanted to include Emily in the whole design instead of with a plaque on the wall.



Emily loved going to the woods and climbing trees, so, to reflect this, the walls are wrapped in special woodland-themed vinyl and the woods are called Emily’s wood.  Her favourite soft toy was Rabbity: she chewed her so much when she was a toddler, that she only had one ear – One Eared Rabbity features in the scene along with 8 other rabbits – one for each year of Emily’s life.  There is even a tree engraving with Emily’s name written in her own handwriting.  There are also puzzles on the wall to distract and keep children busy and a comfy seating area designed by Emily’s brother, Harry, with stools that look like tree stumps. Harry also asked for a screen so the children’s area could be sectioned off in case someone wanted privacy.

Emily’s favourite colour was yellow which is why yellow ribbon was used for the opening and there are yellow flowers and rays of sunlight between the trees in the design”.

Donna explained that it was important that everyone felt a real connection with the department, that it should be a tranquil place.



Meanwhile, the family continue to fundraise for the Brain Tumour Charity.  Harry even won the 2023 Just Giving award for Young Fundraiser of the year for raising £30k for the Brain Tumour Charity in a 3-part ‘Active April’ challenge.  Last summer, they also raised funds for Tom’s Trust, a charity dedicated to providing psychological support for children with brain tumours and their families by walking the 192 miles from coast to coast.  Through Addenbrooke’s, Tom’s Trust have provided counselling for the whole family.  Sarah and Andy ran the Cambridge half marathon in March this year and will also be running the London Marathon later this month for The Brain Tumour Charity.

The family have now raised around £100k for various charities. 

Donna sums up: “I had been working with and supporting the family with ideas on how they could make a significant impact with their fundraising which led us to the refurbishment of the X-ray department.  Working alongside Victoria and Colin from Grosvenor Interiors, we were able to involve the family in making the space extra special, not only for patients but for staff as well.  Emily used to get upset when she went for her scans so making this a nicer environment meant a lot to the family. Emily’s mum Sarah added “This area was in desperate need of refurbishment and didn’t have a separate children’s waiting area at all.  We hope this environment helps to calm young patients down, that the relaxing, natural scene grounds them and they might take a minute and wonder who Emily was and marvel at her wood.”



Donna told us: “It’s had an amazing impact on staff too.  With 300 patients a day, they generally didn’t see daylight but coming into such a lovely space, they feel like they’re outside and they have made many positive comments about the impact it has had on them.

Grosvenor were great to work with because they really listened to staff and the family.  They came to the opening: they were part of the process from start to finish.  Colin has his own story and really understood what the family were going through.



Grosvenor did everything they said they would do on time, they were really supportive of the family, listened to everyone, changed anything that needed changing and offered alternative ideas.  They were incredible.

The Smith family have drawn a lot of comfort from knowing that the funds they raised immediately after Emily died, went some way towards supporting other people who may be going through tough times. It’s a really fitting way to honour their precious little girl, who spread creativity, love and kindness wherever she went. Emily’s wood is a loving tribute to her and her legacy.

We would definitely use Grosvenor Interiors again”.

We’re absolutely delighted to be able to make a real difference for children and families who are going through an incredibly difficult time but we are indebted to the incredible charities we work with who make sure that such wonderful ideas can come to fruition.


Grosvenor Interiors – Your “BETTER” Space