HRH The Duchess of Gloucester will attend a service to mark the launch of Shine’s golden anniversary.
The Duchess, who has been the patron of the charity since 1973, will meet some of the charity’s members among the 250 delegates attending the launch.
These will include four-year-old Angel Wilcox, who will present a bouquet, and two-year-old Tilly Vickers, whose father Stephen won the ITV Good Morning Britain: Totally Modern Dad award in 2015.
The event, which will take place at Peterborough Cathedral on Wednesday, April 13, will commemorate all that has been achieved from the charity’s early start as ASBAH in 1966 into the Shine it is today - with more than 11,000 members, a network of services and a head office in Peterborough.
Shine is still the only charity offering specialist health services to people affected by spina bifida and hydrocephalus in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The charity is now looking to raise lots of money in this anniversary year, including recruiting 100 companies to pledge £500 for the Go for Gold Challenge.
Shine chairman Richard Astle will be undertaking various challenges for the charity, including a 50 mile walk and an overseas trek.
Richard has already raised £40,000 for the new Shine Health Hub which offers specialist health checks for members with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, complex conditions which affect the spine and the brain.
Richard said: “So much has been achieved by the charity during the last 50 years. The service and support it provides is vital so if you are able to help us during 2016 to make sure this is a year to remember then we would very much appreciate the support.”
Shine CEO Kate Steele, who took up the role in January, added: “Much has changed in the treatment and support for spina bifida and hydrocephalus over 50 years, but there are still so many challenges, including helping people to manage the impact these conditions have on school, work and family life. We so value the businesses, volunteers and professionals who are already involved and hope that many more will want to get involved.”
Shine has a network of support and development workers around the country who are skilled at supporting people through the changes and daily challenges that spina bifida and hydrocephalus can bring for individuals and families.
Support and development worker Collette Torrance said: “A big part of what we do is helping young families come to terms with a new diagnosis which can feel so isolating.
“So our events and Facebook groups help to connect members so they feel less alone. Sometimes, just knowing someone understands and cares makes all the difference.”
Other special golden anniversary events taking place include the Heritage exhibition in July - the first exhibition of its kind in the UK - a Shine Firewalk in October, and Big Birthday events around the country over the year.
Shine’s Golden Anniversary is sponsored by the insurance group BGL whose businesses and brands include the iconic comparethemarket.com.