‘Incredibly open’ Kate Middleton ‘creates really precious memories for families struggling with grief’ during her visits to hospices, according to the chief executive of one of her patronages.
The Duchess of Cambridge, 38, who is currently living in her country retreat Anmer Hall with her husband Prince William and their three children, visited East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices’ (Each) The Nook last week.
Now the organisation’s CEO, Tracey Rennie, has revealed how the Duchess was ‘quite keen to come and visit the hospice for some time’ and explained how staff were ‘blown away’ by the plants and flowers she brought to create a new garden at the hospice.
Tracey told the Heirpod podcast the royal’s visit had a real impact on families at the hospice, saying: ‘She has always been the same, she’s been incredibly friendly, incredibly open, caring.
The Duchess of Cambridge, 38, has been hailed by the CEO of her patronage Each Anglia Children’s Hospices as ‘incredibly caring and friendly’
‘She is just at ease talking to a family with a child who has a really profound disability to a child with a brother and sister that might be running around, or even a newly bereaved family that is still coming to terms with a child dying.
‘She always has a really positive impact on the conversation that she has with families, and they will never forget that for the rest of their lives.
‘Without her realising, she creates really precious memories for families.’
Tracey revealed how she first met the Duchess ‘many years ago’ explaining: ‘It really started out from the Duchess just wanting to understand more about children’s hospices and children’s hospice care
Hospice CEO Tracey Rennie opened up about Kate Middleton’s recent visit to The Nook in Norfolk, and said it was ‘her idea to help out with gardening’
‘She came to meet some families and staff, very informally and very privately. It was just brilliant.’
She said she had always been struck by the royal’s personality, saying: ‘Even at that point, her care and compassion, her understanding about who we are and the needs of families, how she interacted with children and staff, has never left me from day one.’
Tracey went on to say that the royal’s most recent visit took ‘a great deal of planning’ due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
She explained: ‘I know the Duchess been quite keen to come and see us for quite some time but we had to wait until it was the right time to do that.’
The CEO added that Kate helps ‘is at ease’ speaking with families struggling with bereavement or children who have profound disabilities
The CEO added that it was ‘Kate’s idea to help out with gardening’ at the facility, saying: ‘They floated that idea past us which we just thought was brilliant.
‘She asked us what things we might like, we asked for different colours, textures, smells, something we can use.’
Tracey added: ‘We were blown away with what she brought.
‘I’ve been to the Nook today, over a week on, and it looks gorgeous, reslly gorgeous.’
Tracey explained how, after giving the royal a ‘brief’ on what to buy, staff had been ‘blown away’ by the plants and flowers Kate had brought to create a new outdoors space at The Nook (pictured, Kate shopping for plants and herbs for the hospice’s garden at Fakenham Garden Centre)
Meanwhile the CEO added that the Duchess said she was keen to stay updated on how the hospice was dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, saying: ‘She said please will we keep in touch with her, she’s really interested to see how things go.’
The Duchess of Cambridge has been Royal Patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices since 2012.
During the visit last week, she worked alongside a volunteer gardener, staff and two families to help create a new horticultural design for a large patio area.
Kate sported a £180 dress, the first she has worn from Indonesian-based ethical company Faithfull the Brand, teamed with new tan £135 Russell and Bromley wedges for her visit.
The Duchess has been patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices since 2012 and has regularly visited the facility since (pictured, during a visit in November 2019)
The royal used plants bought during a visit last week to Fakenham Garden Centre near her Norfolk home of Anmer Hall to help create The Nook’s garden.
East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk and supports their families.
Their care service includes specialist nursing care, symptom management nursing, short breaks, well-being activities, therapies, counselling and volunteer services in the family home; all meeting the individual needs of the child, young person and whole family.
After a five-year public appeal to raise £10 million and two years of building work, the hospice charity EACH has now welcomed children, young people and families to The Nook, a purpose-built hospice in Framingham Earl near Norwich.