Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson brings joy to children's hospice

Children at Chestnut Tree House children's hospice were treated to a unique storytelling experience with a top author.

Fun and games with Superworm in the Woodland Walk at the hospice
Fun and games with Superworm in the Woodland Walk at the hospice

Former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, who has an extensive range of children’s books, spent time with the children and their families in the Woodland Walk.

She and her husband, Malcolm Donaldson, are birthday patrons for the hospice for 2018, and gave their time to treat a group of 20 children.

They used promenade theatre to recreate three of Julia’s family favourites, The Gruffalo, A Squash and a Squeeze and Superworm, involving the children along the way and making the most of the natural setting at the hospice in Poling.

Fun and games with Superworm in the Woodland Walk at the hospice

Some children and members of the hospice team were chosen to play different characters from the stories.

Juliette MacPherson, fundraising development manager, said: “Julia and Malcolm’s visit provided a truly magical afternoon for the children and families, and it was lovely to see so many smiles. Everyone loved the experience and really felt like they were involved in something special.

“Moments are precious to all of us but even more so when you have a child with a life-shortening condition. We are so grateful to Julia and Malcolm for helping these families to make some truly special memories.”

Estee Radford, house activities co-ordinator, organised a themed activity so the children could immerse themselves in Julia’s stories. They were asked to use their imagination to create and name their own monster, which they later showed the author.

Before leaving, Julia spent time signing autographs and writing messages to the children, giving each of them one of her books to take away.

One of the children, Fia, presented Julia and Malcolm with a special Gruffalo card, which was made by Chestnut Tree House to say thank you.