In 1992 the Friends of Chichester Hospitals committee were asked to fund a community paediatric service for local children diagnosed with a life threatening or terminal illness. The Friends were unable to help and so Diana, Frank and Kate founded Snowdrop.
Frank Snell was a retired solicitor from Edinburgh and with the help of Chris Doman, a partner with the solicitors Thomas Eggars, drew up the constitution for the charity. When the Charity Commission granted the charity number in 1993, fundraising started in earnest. Frank was responsible for the finances and wrote thank you letters by hand, which were treasured by the recipients. Sadly, he died in 2004 which was a great loss to the Trust. He was a true gentleman, charming and a much-loved friend to many people in Chichester.
Co-Chairman Diana Levantine and Kate Shaw invited six friends to join the original committee. Lady Miranda Emett was the charities President for 20 years.
Kate dealt with most financial requests for the families and organising the Snowdrop merchandise.
Diana organised all the fundraising events, started the first website, was responsible for all IT matters and enjoyed giving talks to groups and schools about the charity.
They received several accolades for their work for Snowdrop and were subsequently honoured with the Chichester Civic Awards; the Rotary’s highest award the Paul Harris award, Hon degrees from the Chichester University and the Queens Award for Volunteers.
Kate’s husband died very unexpectedly in 2007, and she retired from her role with Snowdrop. During that year she was awarded the MBE for her work with Snowdrop, her village community and as a Magistrate.
Diana Levantine has continued to head the charity as Chairman and unsalaried CEO, and she has been made Hon Fellow of Chichester College, awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards and been named as one of the 100 most inspirational people in Sussex.