Milestones Trust

Confident of success

Kim's story

We wanted to recognise the places that had been important in Brenda’s life and the issues she cared about.

Kim, legacy donor’s nephew

The article below was written by Kim Scudamore, who was the guest of honour at the opening event for our new supported living service at Graeme Close in Fishponds, Bristol, which took place earlier this month.

The service, which has undergone a complete refurbishment aimed at maximising accessibility for people with physical disabilities, will provide a home to eight young adults with learning disabilities and support them to gain greater independence.

Read more about the new service here. 

Graeme Close’s refurbishment was funded in part by a large legacy donation from the family of Brenda Hoskins, Kim’s aunt. In the article below, Kim reflects on Brenda’s life and legacy.

Brenda Hoskins was born in Cheltenham in 1929, but she and her twin brother Ron were brought up by their grandparents in Staple Hill, where they were surrounded by many uncles, aunts and cousins who also lived in the area.

Two men standing outside a house cutting a ribbon
Kim, left, and his brother Gerald

In 1945, Brenda married an American staff sergeant based in England, and in March 1946 she sailed with him across the Atlantic Ocean on the Queen Mary. She was to spend the rest of her life in the USA.

Brenda and her new husband separated within a year of her arriving in the USA, but Brenda settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she worked for a small telephone answering service. She must have done a good job, as Brenda inherited the business when the owner died. Under Brenda’s ownership, the business thrived and expanded to become a chain of answering services across several states. By the time Brenda made her first return trip to England in 1963, she had become a very successful businesswoman.

On her UK visits, Brenda would usually stay with her brother Ron and his family in Soundwell. Ron had contracted polio in 1949 and spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Ron became Chairman of the British Polio Fellowship, and Brenda set up a fund to provide holidays for members of the Fellowship and their families. When she was in the UK, Brenda also made time to visit her half-brother Nicky, who was born with learning difficulties and lived in a care home in Wells.

Brenda passed away in 2020. When deciding how to distribute Brenda’s estate, her family and Trustees wanted to recognise the places that had been important in Brenda’s life, as well as the issues she cared about and of which she had some personal experience. We felt that the work Milestones do in the Staple Hill area and beyond matched our priorities very closely.

A plaque on a white wall
Brenda Hoskins’ commemorative plaque

I really appreciated being asked to cut the ribbon at the recent opening event for Graeme Close, and my brother Gerald and I really enjoyed the occasion. It was good to meet the new residents at Graeme Close and many members of the Milestones team.

I was particularly impressed by how good the building looked. I had visited it at an earlier stage of its refurbishment, so seeing how it had been transformed was further evidence that Milestones can get things done.

Myself and the other Trustees have every confidence that Milestones will make good use of Brenda’s contribution to the Graeme Close development.

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