Sophie Wessex 'incredibly saddened' by children's hospice closure

Sophie Wessex is left ‘incredibly saddened’ as Shooting Star Children’s Hospices closes one of its two sites due to £2million coronavirus losses

  • Countess of Wessex, 55, is patron of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices charity
  • Cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions 
  • Facility in Hampton, London, has been forced to close due to impact of Covid-19
  • Sophie is ‘closely following their situation and being kept regularly informed’ 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Sophie Wessex is said to be ‘incredibly saddened’ by the closure of a children’s hospice facility after the coronavirus pandemic saw them lose £2million in funding.

The Countess, 55, is patron of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, a charity which cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families.

The organisation, which has also been visited by other senior royals including Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge, has been forced to close one of its sites in Hampton, south west London, reports The Mirror.

The cash crisis is a result of the mass cancellation of fundraising events such as the London Marathon, as well as the closure of high street charity shops during lockdown. 

Sophie Wessex is said to be ‘incredibly saddened’ by the closure of a children’s hospice facility after the coronavirus pandemic saw them lose £2million in funding. Pictured on a visit to the Hampton site in February this year

The organisation, which has also been visited by other senior royals including Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge, has been forced to close one of its sites in Hampton, south west London (pictured)

Sophie – who visited the Hampton facility in February, where she was pictured greeting its vice-president, Spandau Ballet star Tony Hadley, and icing biscuits with its residents – is said to be ‘closely following their situation and being kept regularly informed’, according to a Buckingham Palace spokesperson.

‘She was incredibly moved by a video they posted recently and she was incredibly sad to hear that they have had to close the Hampton hospice for now,’ they told the publication.

‘She is hugely passionate about the role they play in the children’s lives and she will continue to support them where she can in the coming months.’ 

Karen Sugarman, vice president of SSCH, which supports children in London and Surrey, told The Mirror: ‘Covid-19 has had a devastating effect, like being run over by a massive steamroller.

Sophie is said to be ‘closely following their situation and being kept regularly informed’, according to a Buckingham Palace spokesperson. Pictured during her visit in February

‘Nobody could have been prepared for this. We are fighting with everything we have to be there for people who need us in their darkest hour.’

She added that the emergency £480,000 awarded to Shooting Star last month by the government ‘merely papered over the cracks’ as its services cost £30,000 a day.

Karen accused the government of being slow to react and not providing an adequate response to the pandemic.

‘The Countess and our other supporters are with us as well and that means so much. We are in an unprecedented times and must raise money to keep the service going for children and families who rely on us,’ she said.  

The Duchess of Cambridge, pictured being hugged by five-year-old Demi-Leigh Armstrong on a visit to the Shooting Star House Children’s hospice in Hampton in 2013

Shooting Star House in Hampton, which has 10 child bedrooms and six family flats, will remain empty until funding is found.

The facility was opened in 2006 by Prince Charles and Camilla. The duchess then invited some of the children to help decorate their Christmas tree at Clarence House. 

The Duchess of Cambridge – who is patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices – visited the charity at its former site in Middlesex in 2013.  

To donate to the organisation’s appeal, visit shootingstar.org.uk/crisisappeal

Sophie, Countess of Wessex cuts a birthday cake as she visits Christopher’s Children’s Hospice to mark the 15th birthday of the charity Shooting Star Chase on February 9, 2016 in Guildford

Last month the charity Sue Ryder warned it may have to close its 11 hospices and rehabilitation centres after taking a huge hit from the coronavirus crisis. 

It launched an extraordinary appeal to save its end-of-life services for thousands of families after it was forced to shut its 450 shops and cancel fundraising events.

The charity said it had months before it will have to close its hospices and its ‘hospice at home’ services across the country.

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