The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duchess of Cambridge hosted a joint video call with three of their respective children’s hospice Patronages – East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, Children’s Hospice South West and Helen and Douglas House, to mark the Children’s Hospice Week 2020 on last Wednesday. During the call, Catherine and Camilla heard about how they have continued to support families during Coronavirus and thanked all those involved in and supporting children’s hospices across the UK during this critical time of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Duchess of Cambridge is the patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall is the patron of Children’s Hospice South West and Helen and Douglas House. Catherine joined from her Norfolk residence Anmer Hall while Camilla was calling from Clarence House in London.
During the call, Both Duchesses discussed the comprehensive care that hospice staff provide, and the way children’s hospices are able to create positive environments and happy memories during the most difficult of times.
Joining both Duchesses was the co-founder of Children’s Hospice South West, Eddie Farwell and CEO of Helen and Douglas House, Clare Periton. Hospice week is being celebrated from 22 June 2020 to Sunday 28 June 2020 in the UK. They were also joined by The Delf Family, a recently bereaved family whose son received end-of-life care at East Anglia Children’s Hospices (EACH).
Thanking the staff and carers, Duchess of Cornwall said, “We’d like to thank everybody that works for hospices across the UK for the incredible job you do and allowing families to treasure their moments together.”
The Duchess of Cambridge said,
” I’m a massive fan of the work the staff do and the fact that families are able to live as close to their home environment as they possibly can in really difficult circumstances is extraordinary and it’s a credit to the staff that they can provide the environment, the nurturing space for those families to help them go through long or short term care. It’s really awe-inspiring.”
The Duchess of Cambridge asked how the hospices are doing during the pandemic? Catherine and Camilla discussed with Eddie Farwell and Clare Periton how coronavirus has not only hit funding but also forced many of the UK’s 54 specialist children’s hospices to change their ways of working. From Daily Mail,
Mr Farwell, whose two children Kate and Tom both died from a rare degenerative disorder after spending time at Helen House in Oxford in 1991 and 1995, now runs three hospices in south-west England. He said: ‘Obviously most of our families are shielding very vulnerable people, young people, and not wanting many of them to venture from their homes.
‘So we’ve had to turn our family-based respite model into something else. We’re still open for emergency and end of life care but we’re working in the community, which is something we haven’t done before and which has been very welcomed and it’s been enormously successful. And it won’t surprise you to know that we are working virtually as well.’
Clare Periton, chief executive of Helen & Douglas House, added: ‘Our doctors have never done as many outreach visits and nor have our team. So a really different way of working and holding situations in the community which are much more complex than we would have dared to before.
The Def family lost their nine-year-old son, Fraser, in a battle against Coats plus syndrome, a rare condition that affects multiple organs and causes brain abnormalities, in January this year. Inspired by legendary 100-year-old fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore, Fraser’s brother Stuie Delf has raised a staggering £18,500 by running five kilometres every day in May for the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) site in Milton, Cambridgeshire that cared for his brother shortly before he died. Continuing from Daily Mail,
‘I hear you’ve been doing lots of fundraising, which has been amazing,’ Kate, who is the patron of EACH, said.
Stuie, who was cheered on by neighbours, had initially aimed to raise £500 to fill the gap and thank staff for the cherished memories of the time he spent there with his family but ended up exceeding all expectations. ‘Fraser wasn’t just my brother, he was my best friend,’ he told Kate.
Camilla added: ‘Captain Tom has done a lot for this country, hasn’t he? He’s inspired so many people. You must be very fit, Stuie.’
In a very sweet and loving gesture, The Duchess of Cambridge promised Stuie that she is going to plant a sunflower in memory of Fraser at one of the EACH centres. The sunflower has been adopted as the emblem of hospice care, a symbol of joy with the seeds representing patients and the surrounding petals love, care, and compassion.
The Duchess of Cambridge is the patron of EACH since 2012 and she recently opened its care centre ‘The Nook’ in 2019. Speaking at its opening, The Duchess said, “EACH was one of the very first charities that I decided to become patron after my marriage. Whilst a lot has changed since then, my commitment and support for this wonderful organization and the work that you do has not“.
For the video call, The Duchess of Cambridge was looking absolutely gorgeous in an emerald green dress that looks like her Diane von Furstenberg Maja Emerald Green Dress.
She first wore the dress during her North-America tour in 2011 after her wedding and then at the pre-wedding bash of Mike and Zara Tindall in July 2011. Her glossy hair was styled in a sideway.
She was wearing her Catherine Zoraida Gold Fern Hoop Earrings.