Village People: Janice Kent

By Michéle Copeland

Scottish-born Janice Kent arrived in Hurstpierpoint with her husband Bill and their two children, one at Sixth Form College and one at Secondary School, when they moved into their new family home 30 years ago.

Janice had decided to retrain in a new career, which took a little time and was very rewarding. It was only when she collapsed at work in January 1995 that she realised that something was seriously amiss. It took some time to get a diagnosis, but she received this when she was referred to St Bart’s in London, where her daughter was working at the time. She was diagnosed as having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as ME. 

In 1999 she decided to set up her charity with her husband Bill when he retired and she was feeling somewhat better – reMEmember (The Chronic Fatigue Society) was the first registered charity in Sussex to be set up to help patients and is based in Hurst.

One of the local patrons is none other than Howard Flight (now Lord Flight). He readily became a patron because one of his old school masters was severely affected by ME and he understood the problems that patients could experience.

Both Janice and Bill then spent some time contacting local ME groups around Sussex to assess their needs and concerns. What was needed was diagnosis and support for patients, who are badly affected with many symptoms not just fatigue. They also have poor prospects, as many of them are far too unwell to work, even part time, let alone have a career, as many of them did before they were unwell.

[Excerpt taken from full article printed in February 2017's issue of Hurst Life magazine]