Catherine wrote from Kensington Palace to thank the UK’s 54 children’s hospices and their incredible staff for the life-changing care they provide.
Ben Merrett, Chestnut Tree House chief executive, was thrilled to receive the message and to know the Duchess is helping raise awareness of services like the hospice in Poling, near Arundel.
“Our care teams have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, adapting services and ensuring they continue to support families, but it’s important to understand just how much of an impact the last year has had on the children and families Chestnut Tree House support and care for. Some families have felt pushed to their limits.
“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community since the Covid-19 crisis began and that community support is now more important than ever to ensure that children and young people who need hospice care continue to receive it.
“On behalf of everyone at Chestnut Tree House, I would like to thank everyone for their support – children’s hospice care simply wouldn’t be possible without the generosity and support of the local community.”
The personal message, signed by hand, asks everyone to join the Duchess in thanking the children’s hospices for the life-changing care they provide to seriously ill children and families.
Catherine wrote: “The last year has been a difficult one for everyone, and especially tough and frightening for families with seriously ill children. Many started shielding long before others, worrying about the pandemic and what it might mean for their child.
“The theme for this year’s Children’s Hospice Week is ‘Pushed to the Limits’, recognising the tremendous strain these families face, and why the care and support of their local children’s hospices is needed now more than ever.
“Children’s hospices are a lifeline, and I have been privileged to see first-hand the remarkable work they do. They give families the care and time they need to make treasured lifelong memories - the chance to be parents, not carers. Vitally, they are also there when it is time to say goodbye, making sure a family has privacy and dignity so they can grieve together, and are able to receive support for as long as they need it.
“I hope you will join me this Children’s Hospice Week in thanking the UK’s 54 children’s hospices and their incredible staff for the life-changing care they provide to children and families facing the unimaginable - helping them to make the most of every precious moment together.”
Children’s Hospice Week, which runs from June 21 to 27 this year, is organised by Together for Short Lives, the UK charity for seriously ill children and families.
The Duchess, as royal patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, has seen first-hand the care children’s hospices provide and her message shines a light on the support they have continued to provide to children and families throughout the pandemic.
She has given her support to Children’s Hospice Week since 2013 and the impact over many years has been transformational, helping to raise awareness of the needs of seriously ill children and families and to show why they need the care and support of children’s hospices.
Andy Fletcher, chief executive for Together for Short Lives, said: “The Duchess of Cambridge, as royal patron for EACH, is a fantastic ambassador for seriously ill children and their families and the children’s hospices that they rely on. We join The Duchess in thanking children’s hospices for their much-needed lifeline support, especially throughout the pandemic, when families have felt exhausted and pushed to their limits.
“More than ever, families need their children’s hospice to provide the care and time they need make the most of every moment, whether that’s for years, months or only days.
“The Duchess’s support for Children’s Hospice Week over many years has helped to raise awareness of the needs of seriously children and to show the life-changing care children’s hospice and palliative care services provide to families throughout their child’s life, and vitally at the end of their life, in bereavement and beyond.”