The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was ‘blown away’ by Demelza Hospice Care for Children.
The Most Revd Justin Welby made the comments when he visited the Kent Hospice, based at Bobbing, near Sittingbourne.
The Archbishop, who is a Patron of the charity, was given a tour of the Hospice along with his wife, Mrs Caroline Welby, by eight-year old Malachi Tyler, from Tunbridge Wells, who is blind and suffers from hydrocephalus (a build-up of fluid on the brain).
Malachi, who is a regular visitor to Demelza, impressed the Archbishop with his knowledge of the hospice and its facilities – as well as the ease and confidence he showed in guiding round his VIP visitor.
The Archbishop took part in music therapy with some of the children and also tried out the soft play area, computer and sensory rooms and took time out to speak to a recently-bereaved family, staying in the Hospice’s Hop Garden. The Archbishop, who was welcomed by Chief Executive Ryan Campbell, chair of the Board of Trustees Sarah Phillips and Derek Phillips, our founder President, said: “This place is a tardis! It isn’t large on the outside but inside there is a whole country of wonderful care and love. I have been blown away by it.”
The visitors enjoyed tea in the magnificent gardens, cared for largely by volunteers, where they also met with Reverends Mike and Liz Resch, from Holy Trinity Church, Sittingbourne, and some of the families, volunteers, trustees and vice-presidents of Demelza. At the end of the tour, the Archbishop was presented with a paper dove produced by Demelza’s children in art therapy, patterned with their thumbprints.
Demelza Hospice Care for Children provides vital care to hundreds of families across Kent, East Sussex and South East London. Its two children’s hospices, Demelza Kent in Sittingbourne and Demelza SEL in Eltham, provide professional, specialist, one-to-one care and support and access to life-enhancing facilities and therapies for children and young people up to the age of 19.