1. ITV Report

Duchess to open hospice

Duchess of Cambridge officially opens hospice Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The Treehouse children's hospice was made possible thanks to the generosity of the community. Three million pounds was raised in under a year to build it. Now fundraisers and volunteers as well as users of the service will be welcoming the Duchess and giving her a tour.

Among them, ten-year-old Bethany Woods, from Ipswich, who was diagnosed with merosin negative congenital muscular dystrophy at the age of 22 months. It is a condition which causes poor muscle tone, tightness in the joints and respiratory problems. Bethany will be presenting the Duchess with a posy and her story will be one of many Her Royal Highness will hear throughout the day.

The care and support Bethany, her Dad Kevin and her fifteen year old brother Ryan receive at the Treehouse is so important to them. Bethany said: "I love music and have lots of fun with Ray the music therapist. I write and record my own music and I've sung at Music in the Garden and Music in the Woods events at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).

"The sensory room is really big and you can play games on the big screen or watch films- it's like a cinema. The activity is really big and there are lots of games to play. I can even play football with a large ball.

"The new playground is brilliant. There's a wheelchair roundabout and a wheelchair swing which is really good. There's a boat too and the woodland has lots of paths through the trees where I can zoom about!"

Bethany's Dad Kevin said: "Bethany really looks forward to going to the hospice- it's such a special place for her. She gets on with all the staff, has loads of fun when she's there and gets to spend time with other children with care needs like hers.

"She has independence too. She can make choices for herself like what activities she wants to do, what she wants to have for dinner, when she goes to bed. She really gets so much out of her visits.

"When Bethany's at the hospice we can have a break and I can spend quality time with Ryan which is really important. Ryan has also benefitted from the sibling groups at EACH.”

Following the tour, Her Royal Highness will make her first public address before planting a tree in the grounds of the Treehouse to commemorate her visit. The Duchess became the Royal Patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices at the beginning of the year.

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