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Children's hospices are 'a truly heart-warming example to us all' says Duchess of Cambridge

PUBLISHED: 13:37 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:35 19 June 2019

The Duchess of Cambridge meeting schoolchildren on a previous visit to an EACH hospice Picture: EACH

The Duchess of Cambridge meeting schoolchildren on a previous visit to an EACH hospice Picture: EACH

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The Duchess of Cambridge has praised charities such as East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) for providing "a truly heart-warming example to us all".

The Duchess of Cambridge, patron of EACH,  has expressed her support for children's hospices Picture: EACHThe Duchess of Cambridge, patron of EACH, has expressed her support for children's hospices Picture: EACH

Kate Middleton, who became EACH's royal patron in 2012, shared her thoughts in a letter of support for Children's Hospice Week, which starts today.

Organised by children's palliative care charity Together for Short Lives, the week aims to challenge the misconception that children's hospices are scary places.

The theme for the week is 'Moments that Matter' and the Duchess said children's hospices provided a "lifeline to children and families".

"Children's hospices provide vital sanctuaries for those experiencing the very toughest of times. They help families and carers build life long memories that are poignant, happy and often filled with laughter," the Duchess said.

The Markham family from Kesgrave in 2012 Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY/EACHThe Markham family from Kesgrave in 2012 Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY/EACH

"Whether through specialist play aimed at deepening relationships between children and their families, or through art and music therapy that helps young people express themselves and release their thoughts and feelings - the work of organisations like East Anglia's Children's Hospices can set a truly heart-warming example to us all.

"They provide a lifeline to children and families for however long support is needed and I hope that others join me in thanking them as we shine a light on their work during Children's Hospice Week."

EACH is sharing the stories of five parents who receive its support at a photography exhibition in Ipswich, where the photos on display have been taken by the parents as a means of exploring what EACH and the word 'hospice' mean to them.

Called the H-Word, the exhibition opens on June 18 in the The Whistler Gallery at Jerwood DanceHouse.

Among parents whose photos will be exhibited is Charlotte Markham, from Kesgrave, whose son Elliot died after just a few hours in 2012.

Charlotte said: "When we went to look around The Treehouse (EACH's hospice in Ipswich), it was a totally different experience to what we expected. 
"We were made to feel that our son Elliot mattered, his life mattered, he was important, they would care for us and him. Our initial perception of what EACH was from the outside was so wrong."

Graham Butland, EACH chief executive, said: "We know and the families we've supported know just how much of a positive difference children's hospices can make, providing truly memorable moments of fun and inspiration, but there's still a clear gap in the knowledge of many others.

"We often hear from families how they expected our hospices to be sad and dark places. That's simply not the case, as Her Royal Highness knows from her visits to us, and it's fantastic to have her continued support in raising awareness."

For more information about Children's Hospice Week, visit the EACH website here.

For more information about the H-Word exhibition click here.

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