The Duchess of Cornwall delights Douglas House
PUBLISHED: 09:46 11 August 2014 | UPDATED: 09:46 11 August 2014
The Duchess of Cornwall joined guests at Helen & Douglas House marking the 10th anniversary of the opening of Douglas House, the world’s first young adults’ hospice for people between the ages of 16-35.
Her Royal Highness, patron of the charity, spoke to children, young adults, staff and volunteers and viewed plans for the Helen House refurbishment being funded by the £1m Helen House Capital Appeal.
Helen & Douglas House supports for over 300 families with children or young adults with life shortening conditions and their families from Buckinghamshire and the surrounding counties. During her tour of Douglas House the Duchess enjoyed a performance by local student a capella group ‘Out of the Blue’ and unveiled a portrait of herself by artist Ruth Heppel which will be hung in the newly refurbished Helen House.
She said: “This is the most inspiring and uplifting place to come to. You go away feeling better which is what a hospice should do. It is also the flagship of children’s hospices around the world, from small beginnings to great things.”
The Duchess also cut a colourful 10th birthday cake made by Tracey Mann, from Longwick, Princess Risborough, who runs Tracey’s Cakes.
She met families, including Ian and Val Bell, the parents of Douglas, after whom Douglas House was named. Delphine and Michael Webb from High Wycombe spoke to the Duchess about their two-year-old son Jacob, who has a progressive illness affecting the nerve cells in his brain and spinal cord. When staying at Helen House, Jacob loves to go in the sensory room and enjoys the spa with his mummy and daddy.
Delphine Webb said: “The Duchess was a lovely person and so nice to Jacob. She even got down on her knees to talk to him, which was a beautiful gesture. He loves it here, and it gives us a bit of time to relax knowing that he is in good hands.”
Tom Hill, Chief Executive, said: “The Duchess of Cornwall, as she always does on occasions like this, put the children, young people and their families before anyone else. She did a marvellous job of putting everyone at ease and making them feel special. My lasting memory is of HRH kneeling beside the wheelchair of a very poorly child, showing the deepest concern for Mum and Dad.”
Helen & Douglas House is almost entirely reliant on the goodwill of individuals, organisations and businesses within their catchment area. If you would like to donate to the refurbishment appeal call 01865 799150 or visit www.helenanddouglas.org.uk.