Julia’s House pays tribute to Founder, Mike Wise MBE

By Nick Batten on 24 November, 2020

Julia’s House, the Dorset and Wiltshire children’s hospice charity, is deeply saddened to announce the death of its Founder and Life President, Mike Wise MBE, aged 84. 

Originally, Julia’s House was the idea of Julia Perks, a children’s nurse who had a dream to create a hospice service for Dorset children. Mike was Julia’s friend and a local Liberal Democrat councillor. When Julia sadly died of cancer before she could realise her dream, Mike took up the challenge, registering the charity in 1997 and naming it after Julia.

Along with a small group of supporters, Mike got the then-unknown charity off the ground through fundraising, which led to employing the first two Julia’s House community nurses in 2003. He was the charity’s Chairman for its first decade, continuing to tirelessly fundraise in order to grow the community nursing service and build a Dorset children’s hospice, opened by HRH Prince Edward in 2006. 

Throughout his life, Mike, who lived mainly in Christchurch, was a pillar of his community. One of his best-known achievements was in setting up the popular craft and event hub, the Courtyard Centre in Lytchett Minster in the late 1980s. 

He was also a Governor of Longspee Special School, Chair of Poole Council for Voluntary Service from 1981-1986, and a District Councillor from 1981-1995. From 2000-2006 he was a Non-Executive Director of South East Dorset Primary Care Trust, chairing its palliative care group. 

In 2007 Mike was awarded an MBE, presented to him by HM The Queen, for his work for Julia’s House. 

After playing an active role in Julia’s House for more than a decade, Mike retired from the Board of Trustees but remained the charity’s Life President. He was open about his long battle with Parkinson’s disease, which he bore with typical stoicism and humour, even undertaking a sky-dive from 13,000 feet to raise money for Julia’s House in 2012.

Mike was predeceased by his daughters Elspeth and Emma and leaves his sister Ann, daughter Vicky, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Martin Edwards, Chief Executive of Julia’s House, recruited by Mike in 2005, said, “Mike Wise was the pivotal figure in the history of Julia’s House. He made it happen and would not rest until these vital services for local children were up and running. Mike was also the key driver in creating our family support services, as he had personal experience of the huge pressures of being a long-term carer. He was wise by name and wise by nature, an innovator, always positive, wickedly funny, and a great mentor.” 

Julia’s daughter Natasha Valentine, who works for the charity as its shop manager in Broadstone, added,“Mike has been a close family friend for many years, and I feel privileged to have seen first-hand his incredible passion and commitment to Mum’s charity Julia’s House. Mike’s energy and enthusiasm has been the driving force behind making the dream of Julia’s House a reality and the truly special place it is today. His achievements have helped many families in need and he has left a truly remarkable legacy.” 

Funeral details are to be confirmed and will be subject to the current restrictions. 

At the request of his family, a collection has been established in Mike’s memory in aid of Julia’s House, to which people can contribute by visiting www.justgiving.com/campaign/mikewise