Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex enjoyed decorating heart-shaped biscuits for Valentine’s Day with children and families supported by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices on Wednesday 12th February.

The Countess, who is our Royal Patron, took time out of her very busy schedule to visit families at our Hampton hospice, Shooting Star House.

Upon arrival she was greeted by our Chief Executive Nigel Harding, Executive Vice-President Karen Sugarman and Vice-President Tony Hadley, who has been awarded an MBE in this year’s Queen’s Honours List in recognition of his support to Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.

The Countess spent time talking with children and families supported by us, including Jordan and her family. Jordan was the first child to use our Hampton hospice, Shooting Star House when it opened in 2005.

The Countess joined the children in decorating heart-shaped biscuits ahead of Valentine’s Day.

The Countess also took time to read a short story to the children, That’s not my princess, complete with sensory actions for everyone to join in.

Jenny, mum of three-year-old Gwen who’s living with spina bifida, said, “It’s been a lovely afternoon – Gwen thoroughly enjoyed meeting a real life princess. Gwen decorated a biscuit with The Countess, which is a special memory that we as a family will be able to treasure. When you have a child with a life-limiting condition it’s lovely to be able to do things like this because life can be hard sometimes and these sorts of things make you realise that you’re not alone. The support that we get from the charity is just brilliant.”

Addressing the nurses and care staff at the hospice, The Countess said, “Thank you for what you do in looking after these wonderful and beautiful children. The care and love that you show to every single child who comes through the door is immeasurable. You are their family when they’re here. The parents trust you completely with their children and no price can be put on that. And to all of the people who are helping to fund this amazing organisation, thank you – it’s a very special place and I know that many families couldn’t survive without Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.”

Before departing, nine-year-old Emma, who has a metabolic condition, presented The Countess with a special canvas which had been created by children that use the hospice, and six-year-old supported sibling, Brooke, presented her with a bouquet of flowers.