Published: 09:53, 28 June 2010
| Updated: 10:31, 28 June 2010
by Katie Alston
Jaws dropped as Hollywood A-lister Hugh Grant paid a special visit to Faversham to celebrate the opening of a new home for adults with learning disabilities.
The Four Weddings and a Funeral star rolled into town in his sleek black Audi on Saturday afternoon. Rumours that the patron of the Fynvola Foundation was unable to make it had circulated, and staff said they didn’t know until an hour before his arrival that he would be joining the party.
The event was organised to celebrate a milestone in the charity’s history of the opening of the new £1.8m specialist residential home. Lady Dane Farmhouse, in Love Lane is the first purpose-built residence for learning disabled adults in the country. The home, which has 15 rooms, will operate under a flexible structure to ensure residents needs are fully catered for until the end of their lives.
The Fynvola Foundation, named after Hugh Grant’s mother, was set up in 2007 by Jenny Gurney, who’s work in setting up five care homes for younger sufferers, has already earned her an MBE.
The grandmother of eight, who lives in Faversham, has been working with learning disabled adults for almost 40 years. She got involved in the cause after her eldest daughter, Susie, was born with Down’s syndrome.
Hugh Grant drops in at a Kent charity
Mrs Gurney said: “Over the years I have discovered there is almost no provision for older learning disabled people needing nursing or palliative care, or with terminal illness.
“Hopefully this home will go some way as to bridging the gap or even showing others what can be achieved.
“It is lovely to have Hugh on board and brilliant that he was able to join us. Like the other patrons and trustees, he has been extremely generous to the foundation.
“It has taken a lot of hard work and it is great to have been able to start moving residents in.”
As well as pledging his full support to the foundation Grant has also given financial support. He said: “The home is unbelievable. I can’t believe all this has been done in such a short space of time.
“I’m very proud that the Fynvola Foundation is named after my mother. This is a brilliant charity and I’m right behind it.
“I got involved as a close family friend had Down’s syndrome, and Jenny is very persuasive.
“She is an incredible woman and very special, she twisted my arm to get me down here. She is a force of nature. I never do anything nice for anyone and she made me do this. I am very grateful for getting me here and I feel a great pride in the work that has been done.”