Children’s Hospice South West co-founder Eddie Farwell has had a video call with royalty to promote the recent Children’s Hospice Week.
He was invited to join the call by CHSW patron HRH Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall and HRH Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, together with Clare Periton, chief executive of Helen and Douglas House hospice, of which The Duchess of Cornwall is also patron.
They were joined by the Delf family who have received support from East Anglia Children’s Hospice (EACH) of which the Duchess of Cambridge is patron.
During the call Their Royal Highnesses discussed the comprehensive care hospice staff provide, and the way children’s hospices are able to create positive environments and happy memories during the most difficult of times.
They thanked all those involved in and supporting children’s hospices across the UK during this critical time.
Mr Farwell, who is chief executive at CHSW, founded the hospice alongside his late wife Jill in 1991, having experienced first hand the support the Helen House hospice provided for their two children, who had life-limiting illnesses.
During the call he told Their Royal Highnesses of the support the family, including their well daughter Lizzy, had received.
He described the hospice as providing ‘enormously valuable and loving care’ and being ‘a place of wonderment’.
Speaking about the current situation during the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Farwell explained the changes CHSW has had to make to continue offering support to families in ways most suitable to them.
He said: “We’ve had to be very agile to respond to the changing needs of families. Most of our families are shielding very vulnerable young people.
“We’re working in the community, which is something we haven’t done before, it has been very welcome and enormously successful, and it won’t surprise you to know we have been working virtually as well.”
Clare Periton explained similar challenges experienced by the team at Helen and Douglas House.
The Delf family discussed how they have faced lockdown as a recently bereaved family and shared their recent experience of EACH.
The Duchess of Cornwall, commending the work of children’s hospices at this difficult time 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.”
Speaking about the nurses and carers that look after children in hospices, she described them as ‘the most wonderful people’ that ‘inspire happiness’.
The Duchess of Cambridge called the work of children’s hospices ‘extraordinary’, adding: “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.”