The Duchess of Cambridge has paid a visit to the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) facility in Quidenham — met by dozens of school children, volunteers, staff and families.
The charity said they were “delighted” to be welcoming their Royal Patrol to the site, who was greeted with flag-waving pupils from East Harling and Kenninghall primary schools, as well as New Eccles Hall School, on what was her first visit to the facility.
Among the children to speak to the Duchess were Kenninghall Primary School pupils and sisters Ruby, nine, Kitty, six, and Mia, 11 — who all said they were “very excited” to meet her.
“She liked the flowers were gave her and she asked us a few questions as well,” said Mia.
A Royal Patron of the charity since 2012, Her Royal Highness met dignitaries including Richard Jewson, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk and Cllr Garry Wheatley, chairman of South Norfolk Council, before being given a posy by four-year-old Nell Cork.
Her brother Finnbar received care at the hospice before dying in August last year.
She observed a therapy session, and watched Paige Scott, four, from Eccles, use sensory equipment and meet some the children’s families — but part of her visit was to see for herself the importance of the charity’s ongoing Nook Appeal.
The Duchess helped launch it in 2014, and it aims to raise £10m for a new purpose-built hospice, which will be known as the nook, at a five-acre site in Framingham Earl.
The hospice in Quidenham was opened in 1991.
But due to the increasing numbers of children with life-threatening conditions and complex healthcare needs, the charity says the hospice has outgrown its current site.
And EACH says the new hospice will help to provide more families with the same facilities as those offered by the charity’s hospices for Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and Essex.
EACH Chief Executive Graham Butland said: “It was a pleasure for everyone at EACH to greet Her Royal Highness once again, on what was her first visit to our site in Quidenham.
“The Duchess was given a really good insight into the difficulties our staff and volunteers face as a result of Quidenham having outgrown its home, and the huge difference a purpose-built modern hospice will make to the care they can provide to so many families.
“The nook appeal will transform children’s palliative care across Norfolk and we’ve so far secured close to £5 million.
“We still have some way to go before the new hospice can be built, though, and we need continued help from individuals, trusts and events, and as much corporate and community support as possible.”
To support the Nook Appeal, visit www.each.org.uk/the-nook