Sussex-serving children’s charities have received some star backing with the appointment of their newest patron.
International music star Peter Andre has been announced as the patron for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice and Together for Short Lives, the UK charity for seriously ill children and children’s hospices.
The Mysterious Girl singer supported the organisations at events last year, including the Together for Short Lives’ Nutcracker Ball in November and Chestnut Tree House’s Snowman Spectactular Fundraising Ball in December.
Describing how he felt when he first visited Chestnut Tree House, Peter said: “It was so different to what I thought it was going to be. It has an incredible atmosphere – you walk in and everything is so calm and everyone is smiling, and definitely no hospital feeling about it.
“Children have the space to just be children, and parents can relax and spend quality time with their child knowing that there are others to help. And it’s not just about the care Chestnut Tree House gives while the children are here. Families can come in a year later, two years later – they’re always going to be welcome.”
In November, at Together for Short Lives’ ball, Peter heard mum Carly talk about her family’s heartbreak of hearing the news that her daughter Effie had an incurable condition and would die very young. Peter was struck by her sense of isolation and her struggle to get the right support.
“No family should face this journey alone, no family should feel isolated or have to fight to get the care they need,” said Peter.
“Families like Carly’s haven’t got time to waste – and need to know that help is at hand now. Thank goodness that Together for Short Lives was there for Carly. That’s why I’m right behind their national work of reaching out to families and campaigning to make sure every family get the care they need.”
“I’m really blown away by the work of Chestnut Tree House and Together for Short Lives. What they do is incredible and I am honoured to become a patron of both charities.”
Together for Short Lives raises awareness and funds for the 54 children’s hospices across the UK, working to support families and children dealing with long-term illnesses.
Chestnut Tree House has a hospice in Dover Lane in Angmering, shops across Sussex and a head office in Eastbourne. The charity cares for children and young people with life-shortening conditions and their families.
Clinical nurse nanager, Caroline McCullough, showed Peter round the children’s hospice and said it was lovely to see the genuine interest he showed in the children and their families.
She said: “He spent lots of time with the children and their parents and seemed to instantly understand what we’re all about. We’re delighted that he is becoming a patron of Chestnut Tree House and hope that it will help others to see what wonderful, and vital, places children’s hospices are.”
Andy Fletcher, chief executive for Together for Short Lives, added: “Thank you Peter, it’s wonderful to welcome you as our patron. Peter is passionate about helping families facing the unimaginable grief of knowing their child will die young. Peter’s support and generosity will make such a difference – he’s a fabulous family ambassador and will help us reach out to more families like Carly’s. Peter’s patronage will be a real boost to the UK’s 54 children’s hospices – helping to break taboos about children’s hospice care, so families are reassured and are not afraid to seek their help and support.”