Christopher’s, our Guildford hospice, opened its doors on bright Thursday afternoon this week to welcome guests to our Legacy Afternoon Tea Event.

The inspirational afternoon was held to give new and current supporters an opportunity to hear directly from a family we support, meet some of our fantastic care team and receive a short tour of the hospice gardens, whilst finding out how they could  support children with life-limiting conditions with a gift in their will.

Guests were greeted with a cup of tea or coffee in the Garden Room before Head of Care at Christopher’s, Anne Bridgman began by giving an informative talk about Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, the work will do and the service we provide to 700 families across Surrey and London. She also outlined how much it costs to maintain our current level of care and the challenges we currently face.

She then led the group on a walk through the gardens, including through the new sensory walkway which was recently supplied and fitted by supporters Timotay Playscapes and funded by Hindhead Golf Club who chose us as their Charity of the Year.

During the tour the guests were able to find out more about the facilities available to families and the special activity events that are held throughout the year for the families to attend and enjoy time together in a relaxed and safe environment.

Following the tour the guests received a heartfelt and emotional talk from supported dad Phil, whose son George has been supported by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices for 10 years. Up until the age of seven, George was living like any other healthy child, until one morning in 2010 when Phil and mum Nicky found their son lying in bed awake, but unable to move or talk. Now at 17 year’s old, George’s condition still remains undiagnosed, with no prognosis, nine years on from his first seizure. Phil said during his speech, “Whatever the future holds, dealing with the impact of George’s condition is made bearable because of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices and we simply couldn’t function without them. They are the greatest support network to anyone in our position.”

Sharon Jones, Lead Nurse at Christopher’s then told the group about her role and how varied her day can be, from taking a supported child with limited movement to enjoy the benefits of our hydrotherapy pool to helping a child to be more comfortable with symptom management. She was joined by Barbie Hibberd, Activities Co-ordinator at Christopher’s who gave an insight to all the fun and engaging activities and trips she organises to ensure children of all abilities can play, express their feelings and ultimately make special memories.

The guests were then able to enjoy some delicious cake made lovingly by our on site cook and talk with one another and the staff to understand more about how leaving a gift in their will, no matter how big or small, could make all the difference to the families we support.

Supporters Valerie Webb and Deanne Batehup said of the afternoon, “Hearing from a supported father just cements the wonderful work that the charity does here and I’m so pleased that I support Shooting Star Children’s Hospices because it’s so worthy,” said Valerie. Valerie’s sister, Deanne said, “The facilities they have got here for the children and to help the families is just amazing and so inspirational.”

Supporter Glenys Palmer said, “I am really impressed by the cheerfulness and happiness that exudes from the hospice and I loved the walk around the gardens. I feel so grateful that I have got two healthy grandchildren and so its a pleasure to be able to support Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.”

Supporter Fiona Rochez-Maggs said, “It was amazing to walk in here, the calm and loving atmosphere hits you immediately you come in the front door. The talks were really informative and interesting from all the speakers who are obviously passionate about what we do and it was lovely to know about the services they offer to the whole family, that’s what really impressed me, the breadth of the service they offer and I felt like everybody in the local community should have the opportunity to come and visit because I think they’d be very moved to know about this amazing service. It’s a beautiful environment and I can see how it’s so beneficial to families and how it’s such a vital lifeline.”

Katie Wallman, Legacy Fundraiser at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices said, “It was so lovely to welcome everyone to the Afternoon Tea this year and I’d like to extend my thanks for their ongoing support. These events are a great opportunity to give supporters a real insight and see first hand what and how we help care for children with life-limiting conditions, and their families. We understand giving a gift in your will is a big and personal decision, but even the smallest gift really could make a huge difference to families who are facing the unimaginable, and mean we could continue to support families in the future to come.”

To find out more about how you could leave a legacy for your local children’s hospice.