The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby paid a Christmas visit to the Demelza children’s hospice in Sittingbourne, Kent, where he met children, parents and staff.
The VIP visitor had a tour of the facilities with Demelza’s President Richard Oldfield and Chief Executive Ryan Campbell, stopping along the way to chat with children who have serious and terminal conditions and their families.
The Archbishop, who is a patron of the charity, visited a magical Santa’s grotto which had been created at the hospice and was presented with a Christmas card made by Demelza children, featuring fingerprints, handprints and footprints.
He also visited various parts of the hospice including the hydrotherapy pool area, the soft play area, the sensory rooms and the art and the music therapy rooms, stopping along the way to speak with staff as well as some of the charity’s volunteers who help in the kitchen, help look after the grounds and assist in reception.
The Archbishop said: “Every child and young person is a precious gift from God, and the care and support offered by Demelza is inspiring. At Christmas we remember how Jesus came to bring light to the world – and it’s been wonderful to witness the light and joy brought by Demelza into the lives of so many families.”
While at the hospice the Archbishop also recorded a Christmas interview with ITV News, which will be broadcast over the festive period.
Demelza President Richard Oldfield said: “It was wonderful to have the Archbishop at Demelza and to see him spending time with children and their families. It was really inspiring for all of us. The connection between the Archbishop’s office and Demelza is very special.”