'Genuine, charming' Maidenhead fundraiser dies aged 91

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

adrianw@baylismedia.co.uk

A ‘fabulous, warm and charming’ fundraiser for a Maidenhead accessibility charity has passed away aged 91.

Val Brand (nee Bright) was often found outside Waitrose with a collecting tin for People to Places.

As well as being a ‘proud trailblazer’ in her field as a working woman, Val Brand was in a wheelchair and living in sheltered accommodation.

Val was a long-standing user of People to Places Dial-a-Ride service, which picks up people with additional mobility needs and takes them on outings to the shops or further afield.

Over the years, she went on ‘hundreds and hundreds’ of trips. Val was ‘thrilled’ to be able to take trips down to places like Southampton.

Determined to give back, she became involved in fundraising for People to Places.

“Her big forte was
collections,” said Pam Proctor, a former director and trustee of People to Places for many years. “She filled them time and time again.

“Val got about half the money we collected on her own – she was just fabulous at it.”

Val would ‘look people in the eye from her wheelchair’ and would engage them with her ‘charm and warmth’.

From her many trips to Waitrose to shop, she was known and welcomed by staff and visitors there.

“You’d get in a conversation with her and the money would just fall out of your pocket,” said current People to Places CEO, Peter Haley.

“She was a very genuine, and a genuinely lovely person.”

Val also led the charge on the charity’s many Flag Days, its street collecting events with ‘tin rattlers’ in specific spots across the town centre. In Peter’s first year, People to Places presented Val with live orchids to thank her for her efforts.

Pam remembers that she cherished these and tended to them carefully at her retirement home in Maudsley House on Ray Street.

“She felt that she belonged as a member of People to Places, and she was a fabulous example of someone who appreciated the service,” said Pam.

Val passed away peacefully on November 9 at Longlea Nursing home after a long illness.

Her funeral is today (Thursday) at Slough Crematorium. The family requests donations in lieu of flowers to be made to the Alzheimer’s Society for its research on vascular dementia.

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