Rugby star Sam Warburton visits our south east London children’s hospice

14 March 2018
Rugby Legend Sam Warburton OBE “instantly fell in love” with Demelza when he visited families in our care on Tuesday 13 March. 

The Welsh international rugby union player and two-times Lions skipper is supporting Demelza as one of his charities during his testimonial year.

Father-of-one Sam, 29, visited our Eltham hospice Demelza SEL, where children up to the age of 19 come for respite, therapies, symptom management and end of life care
Sam, who will be raising vital funds for Demelza throughout the testimonial season, met three-year-old Mia who has been coming to Demelza since she was just 11 days old after suffering a bleed on the brain at birth. 

Brothers Thomas, 10, and eight-year-old Connor, who were both born with congenital heart disease and a host of other health issues, also gave Sam a warm welcome by displaying the Welsh flag on the hospice’s sensory magic carpet.  

Sam, who has a young daughter, said: “Demelza’s facilities are unbelievable – the respite it gives parents, the support it gives children with terminal illnesses – it can really help the family. I’ve had a walk around and met some of the parents and they can’t speak more highly enough of the hospice. 

“It’s friendly and happy. I’ve been really impressed with the staff and facilities that are second to none, where the children can come to make happy memories with their families.” 

After meeting families Sam was taken on a tour of the facilities, including the sensory and music room where families can enjoy therapies and create memories and Butterfly Room bereavement suites where a child can lay at rest after they have died.  

Demelza also has another hospice Demelza Kent, near Sittingbourne, and a Community Team who provide vital care in the homes of families in East Sussex

Ann Fagg, Care Service Lead at Demelza SEL, said: “We’re so grateful to Sam for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit Demelza and for choosing to support us during his testimonial year. He interacted beautifully with the children and raised so many smiles.

“The unique support we give to families comes at a price and we’re reliant on the generosity of our local community to raise funds that keep our services going. Having Sam’s support will not only help us financially but it will also help to raise awareness of the specialist care and emotional support we give to so many families.”