• Demelza says farewell to long-serving member of care team, Ann Fagg

    by Sophie Batchelor | Nov 07, 2018

    A much loved and respected member of the Demelza care team said a sad goodbye to children, families and colleagues when she moved on to pastures new after 18 years with the charity.

    Ann Fagg joined Demelza in February 2000 as a nurse and worked her way up to Care Services Lead. Most of her time was spent working at Demelza’s Kent hospice, in Sittingbourne, but the last three years Ann has worked at the charity’s Eltham hospice in South East London.

    Children gave Ann hand-made cards and staff enjoyed tea and cake with Ann before she left – as well as trip down memory lane, recalling special times.

    Ann said: “I'm very sad to be leaving. It’s not really felt like a job but more of a vocation. I will really miss Demelza, the ethos of the organisation, what it stands for and how it puts families at the centre of everything.

    “It’s been a privilege to work here and to work with the children and their families. It’s been truly rewarding to have been a small part of their lives.”

    When Ann arrived at Demelza there was just the Sittingbourne hospice. Today Demelza, as well as supporting children and families in Kent, also has another children’s hospice in Eltham and supports children in the community in East Sussex.

  • Families enjoy a frightfully good time

    by Mellissa Cox | Nov 02, 2018
    A fang-tastically good time was had by hundreds of families who took part in our Halloween Pumpkin Hunts across Kent, South East London and East Sussex.
    The events took take place during the October half term – with almost 2,000 children enjoying the fun, while at the same time raising a staggering £15,000 for the charity which supports children with serious and terminal conditions and their families.
    Pumpkin Hunt events took place in Chislehurst, Greenwich, Sevenoaks, Gravesend, West Malling and Whitstable and Hastings, with children dressing up in costumes including witches, wizards, vampires, monsters, pumpkins, bats and cats to enjoy some boo-tiful skele-fun.
    With each event pumpkins were on display with various retailers and at local landmarks and children were required to hunt for them around their local town while picking up treats from shops and businesses along the way.
    Children were encouraged to wear fancy dress with the best Halloween costume in each location winning a prize. Winners from each town will now be judged against each other for the chance of winning a Merlin family pass, kindly donated by one of Demelza’s corporate partners Active International. 
    The Halloween Pumpkin Hunts were open to children aged 3-11. Those taking part were given their own Pumpkin Passport to get stamped and were given treats at stops along the route.
    Tamsyn Clark, Demelza’s Director of Fundraising and Marketing, said: “Families who took part in our Halloween Pumpkin Hunt events had a fantastic time and enjoyed some safe Halloween fun, with two of our events, Chislehurst and West Malling, being complete sell outs!
    “The Halloween Pumpkin Hunt is a simply lovely family event and having created a very successful event in Chislehurst, we took the opportunity to roll out the events across Kent and East Sussex. We invited children to dress up if they wanted to and parents and youngsters went all out to create some fabulous costumes. I’d like to thank everyone who supported the events including participants and sponsors who both helped us raise much needed funds for Demelza, so that we can continue to support our families.”
    Demelza runs fun events and challenges throughout the year. To find out more visit our Challenges and Events page at: www.demelza.org.uk/support-us/challenges-and-events
  • Demelza Chief Executive welcomes call for more support for dying children and their families

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 26, 2018
    Calls for more support for children with terminal conditions have been welcomed by the Chief Executive of Demelza Hospice Care for Children.

    Ryan Campbell has given his backing to the findings of a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children Who Need Palliative Care and also welcomes its recommendations which call for the Government to take urgent action in several areas, including funding.

    Mr Campbell said: “There have been cut backs in funding for respite breaks for children with complex disabilities and sometimes the only break these families have is through charitable organisations such as Demelza.

    “We would like to see families being given more help and support – as well as choice. We believe they should be able to choose the place of death for their child, but at the moment that is not the case.

    “The report also mentions the various agencies and organisations working more closely together, which is something we welcome and in fact that is now happening here in our area. Through new clinical network partnerships and a strategic approach within the wider health and social care planning system we are looking at future plans to transform health and social care. It’s good news that as experts in children’s palliative care we are included.”

    The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children Who Need Palliative Care has been examining the extent to which the Government is meeting its end of life care choice commitment.  

    Their report found that England’s most vulnerable children are not able to access the full range of care and support that the Government has committed to, for seriously ill children and their families. 

    Despite the commitment – which outlines six ways ministers believe that people approaching the end of their lives should be supported – the APPG heard evidence from young-people, families, services and professionals that the quality of palliative care children and families can access is patchy and depends on where in England they live. MPs and peers state that this is unfair and represents a wholly unjustified health inequality.

    The APPG’s report, End of life care: strengthening choice, was published on 21 October. It highlighted five areas of particular concern, where many children and their families have limited access to:
    • children’s palliative care out of hours and at weekends
    • short breaks for respite
    • age-appropriate palliative care and smooth transitions to adult services
    • specialist children’s palliative care teams led by Level 4 consultants
    • advance care planning

    The APPG identified five areas in which it wants the Government to take urgent action. These included leadership and accountability, clarity for those who plan and fund (commission) children’s palliative care, funding, workforce and integration.

    Dr Caroline Johnson MP, a Consultant Paediatrician and Co-Chiar of the APPG for Children Who Need Palliative Care, said: “The Government’s commitment to the 40,000 babies, children and young people in England with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions is clear and welcome. It is vital that all have access to advance care planning, specialist services, and short breaks for respite. As much choice as possible should also be given to seriously ill children and their families about where their care is provided, how it is provided, and by whom.

    “However, we have identified a number of different challenges which, if not quickly met by the ministers, will threaten their ability to meet their end of life care choice commitment for children by 2020. I ask the Government to work with us to implement the recommendations we make.”

    Catherine McKinnell MP, Co-Chair of the APPG, said “Well-planned and funded children’s palliative care, including that provided in hospitals, children’s hospices and in the community, improves outcomes for children with life-limiting conditions. It also helps to prevent costly, emergency admissions to hospital when families reach crisis point. I urge ministers to make sure that children’s palliative care is part of the NHS’s new plan, and that it is sustainably funded in the long-term, both through NHS and local authority funding.”

    “Children who have life-limiting conditions and their families don’t have any time to waste,” said Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives, which supported the APPG to research and write the report. “They need the support and services to allow them to make the most of their time together – without this lifeline support their lives can become even more difficult. We support the recommendations of the APPG, and ask Theresa May and her ministers to fulfil the commitments they have made around children’s palliative care. We’d encourage all our members, supporters and the public to contact their own MPs and ask them to ensure everyone involved – ministers, officials and commissioners – work tirelessly to make this commitment a reality.” 
  • Britain's Got Talent Winner Richard Jones brings magic to Demelza

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 25, 2018

    World-class celebrity magician, mind reader and winner of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, Lance Corporal Richard Jones made a very special visit to Demelza in Kent on Thursday, 25 October 2018. Richard Jones, as Ambassador for Together for Short Lives, the UK charity for seriously ill children, wants to do all he can to help children with serious and life-limiting conditions, and their families, to make the most of every moment.

    Richard Jones spent the afternoon meeting families supported at Demelza’s Sittingbourne children’s hospice and had the opportunity to see first-hand the remarkable and lifeline support Demelza offers to children across Kent, South East London and East Sussex.

    During his visit Richard enchanted children, siblings and parents with an extra special magical afternoon of fun, mystery and illusion – and even shared some inner secrets about his magical powers. Richard met with families like those of seven-year-old Hallie who has osteopetrosis; a rare and life-limiting genetic condition that can result in bone fractures, restricted height, frequent infections, sight loss and hearing impairment.

    The respite care Hallie receives at Demelza is a lifeline to her family, including her big brother and little sister.

    Mum Megan said: “We can’t leave Hallie with anyone else. Her grandparents love being with her but her medical needs are too much for them and they would be scared to be in charge. To take her somewhere where the care team know exactly what they are doing means we can relax.”

    Richard said: “It’s been so amazing to meet all the children and families and the wonderful team here at Demelza. What they do here is magic. Seeing all the smiles has been a highlight for me and I am so proud to be an Ambassador for Together for Short Lives.”

    Helen Rolls, Care Services Lead at Demelza, said: “We were delighted to welcome Richard to one of our specialist children’s hospices. The impact of our work is all about removing fear, providing rest and bringing smiles to the faces of children with terminal conditions and their loved ones. What better way to do this, than with some fantastic magic for all to enjoy?”

    Like us on Facebook and Instagram to see more magic moments from Richard's visit.

  • Spooktacular Pumpkin Hunt Prizes up for grabs

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 20, 2018

    Spending time together as a family is at the heart of our values, and probably yours too – which is why we’re so excited about the Grand Pumpkin prize that’s up for grabs in the costume contest across all of our Halloween Pumpkin Hunt events!

    There's just one week to go until the Pumpkin Hunts come creeping into a haunt near you - and there are some seriously spooktacular prizes for those who come trick-or-treating in the best creepy costumes.

    Dress up in your most original Halloween finery for the chance to win fantastic family prizes, generously donated by participants and sponsors from the local area of your Pumpkin Hunt. You can see more information and terms of entry for each hunt using the links below.

    Thanks to a generous donation from Active International, the best of the best-dressed will receive an amazing annual Merlin Family Pass for their family! It’s your ticket to 12 months of thrills, adventures and memory making with your nearest and dearest, with access to attractions like Thorpe Park, LEGOLAND Windsor, Madame Tussauds, The Dungeons, SEA LIFE Centres, Chessington World of Adventures, and more!


    So if you’re already coming to a Halloween Pumpkin Hunt (or just really enjoy dressing your whole family up), bring your best ideas to life and you could go home with more than a goody bag full of treats.

    There's not long to go to get your tickets - Chislehurst has already sold out, but there's six other hunts to join. Click here to get yours.

    Are you following us on Facebook? There's plenty more Halloween fun over on the event pages, so make sure you RSVP and share with friends!


    Prizes for the Pumpkin Hunts
    West Malling

  • Demelza supports local job seekers with Dress to Impress initiative

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 15, 2018
    Demelza shops in Kent have joined forces with national careers app Debut and TV fashion expert Amber Butchart to feature a ‘Dress to Impress for £10’ initiative from Monday 15 October.

    The national initiative is being showcased at charity shops across the UK and will help improve job prospects for millions of individuals by providing access to interview outfits for only £10 and educate job seekers on correct interview attire.

    The Demelza shops participating in the initiative are in Maidstone town centre, Tonbridge town centre and Canterbury town centre. 

    More than 650 charity shops spanning the UK will each feature a dedicated section of their retail space to the Dress to Impress initiative, and store volunteers will share advice and tips that have been provided by the BBC’s fashion expert, Amber Butchart.
    The initiative will give everyone access to interview attire on a budget while demystifying what candidates should wear to an interview today, after research undertaken by Debut revealed that 72 percent of career hopefuls aged 16-23 didn’t know where to start.  

    Demelza’s Director of Retail, Ashley Henson, said: “We are excited to be a part of this campaign as it will impact our fundraising whilst making a difference to our customers’ lives too. We receive some fantastic donations at our local stores that would make great interview attire, so the Dress to Impress section will be a real highlight for job seekers, and anyone else who wears business attire that is looking for a bargain.”
    The BBC’s Fashion Expert, Amber Butchart, who has informed the fashion advice for the campaign, added: “I'm really excited to be working with Debut and the country’s charity shops on the ‘Dress to Impress for £10’ initiative. It’s supportive, promotes sustainability and gives everyone the same chance to look and feel great during an interview. 

    “The UK’s charity shops are brimming with hidden gems that are waiting to go from being pre-loved to re-loved and this campaign makes it easier to find them. Thousands of store volunteers have been armed with my interview attire advice and a list of interview staples that they will be showcasing in the dedicated sections of the store, which are signposted to be found easily.”  

    Charlie Taylor, Founder and CEO of Debut calls for members of the public to get involved. He said:  “Everyone in the UK can benefit from this campaign - job seekers can pick up a great outfit on a budget and feel interview-ready, whilst everyone else can get involved and donate their own pre-loved interview attire that they no longer need to help a number of fantastic causes.

    “The idea for the initiative stemmed from a piece of research we did that revealed that seven in every ten people aged 16-23 are confused about what to wear for an interview. Here at Debut we decided to set the record straight and give every candidate the chance to purchase a fantastic interview outfit on a budget, armed with the information they need to ‘dress to impress’ and land their dream career.”

    Robin Osterley, CEO of the Charity Retail Association, which represents the interests of charity retailers that run more than 8,600 shops, explained why they got behind the Dress to Impress initiative. He said:“Charity shops play a vital role in every community, making them a perfect place to help this campaign start conversations about finding work, give people a helping hand to get into employment, or source a fantastic interview outfit for a good price.

    “The Dress to Impress for £10 initiative is extremely relevant today as competition for jobs is increasing, and people are looking for ways to save money during the job application process. Often education around what to wear is also missing - and this campaign helps to overcome that whilst supporting great causes across the UK.”

    Fashion historian and author Amber provided insight on how to dress for an interview and the wardrobe staples that can be found in participating charity stores: 

    Amber’s advice:
    • Research the dress policy of the company you are applying for
    • Don’t be afraid to wear colour, but avoid clashing prints unless you’re interviewing for the arts or creative industries
    • Smart separates can be better than an ill-fitting or poorly-made suit
    • Avoid jeans and T-shirts unless you’re sure the company has a relaxed attitude to dress
    • Avoid open-toed shoes, but white, low-rise sneakers (think Stan Smiths) can add a contemporary element to your professional look
    • The details matter: make sure your socks match and your clothes aren’t creased
    • Avoid garments with too much text, such as slogans or enormous logos
    • A blazer or jacket in a dark colour is a good re-wearable piece for smartening up an outfit

    Interview Staples:
    • Smart trousers
    • Knee length skirts
    • Shirts/blouses - not formal dress shirts but smart, can include colour
    • Brogues/loafers
    • Smart flats and heels
    • Blazers and jackets
    • Knitwear - smart sweaters and cardigans

    The campaign launches in 650+ charity shops that will each be displaying a window sticker from Wednesday 17 October 2018 and will run for as long as there is demand in-store. Find out more about the Dress to Impress for £10 campaign at www.debut.careers
  • Demelza supports Baby Loss Awareness Week

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 12, 2018
    This week is Baby Loss Awareness Week, throughout which bereaved parents, their families and friends, unite with each other and others across the world to commemorate the lives of babies who died during pregnancy, at or soon after birth and in infancy.

    Demelza often receives referrals from neonatal teams, when babies have complex clinical needs. We are experienced in providing compassionate care and support for the whole family from the first contact until after a child has died. Children’s Palliative Care Nurse Charlotte shared her experiences of supporting a family who was referred to us:

    “We had baby Adam* here a while ago who’d had an antenatal diagnosis that sadly meant he wasn’t going to survive, due to a heart condition. After birth, the family were in neonatal intensive care for a couple of days before coming to Demelza, and though Adam was here for end of life, he did manage to go home for Christmas. We arranged for some of our nurses to go out to the family home to support them, building the parents’ confidence, by teaching them to do everything that Adam needed.

    Adam died peacefully at home and the family chose to return to Demelza. He laid at rest in our Butterfly Suite, which is a special bedroom that allows parents and families to spend up to five days with their child, giving them that precious time to say goodbye before a funeral. 

    I think the most important thing families take away from being able to have the time together at Demelza is the memories they make. We encourage them to take lots of pictures and we can make imprints of hands and feet. Our Music Therapist even sang to one baby after they had died, at the request of a mum who wanted to connect her child to their culture.

    If a family chooses for their child to die at Demelza, we’ll ensure they have the support they need to focus on loving each other and making lasting memories. We can’t make the loss any less painful, but we can give a family a dedicated and private space to be together, without fuss or interruption.”

    *Name has been changed for privacy.
  • Join Team Demelza for the 2019 London Marathon

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 08, 2018
    Ballot results for London 2019 have just been announced and this week will see both celebrations and commiserations for those who got places and those who missed out. Some who got a place might even be feeling a bit fearful. But whichever way it went the advice from the Demelza charity is do not despair!

    For those who were lucky enough to secure their own place there is an appeal for them to join the Demelza London Marathon team and to get stuck in with fundraising at the same time as pounding the streets – turning miles into pounds to help the charity support children with terminal and serious conditions and their families. Support will also be available to runners to help with training and motivations.

    And for those who missed out on a place in the ballot there is still hope, as Demelza has a limited number of spaces remaining. The participation target to run for Team Demelza is £2,000.

    Each year Demelza has a team of runners – who certainly stand out in the crowd – in their red and white spotted t-shirts.

    Hayley Richardson, head of community and events at Demelza said: “If you were lucky enough to get a place then congratulations and please consider running for Demelza, so that you could help children with terminal and serious conditions and their families, at the same time as accomplishing an amazing challenge. 

    “Or if you missed out on a place don’t despair as we still have some Demelza places available, although runners would need to raise at least £2,000. We can help with this though, with some great fundraising ideas and tips. We’ll be with our runners every step of the way, offering group training runs, full fundraising support and a post-race reception at our Sittingbourne, Kent, hospice to say thanks you for all your hard work and to show where the money goes.”

    For more information please contact Demelza’s Events Team on 01795 845191 or email eventbookings@demelza.org.uk
  • Fundraising gala raises mammoth amount

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 05, 2018
    Demelza’s annual fundraising gala raised a staggering amount – bringing in more than £100,000 for the charity.
    It was held at The Ned, a historic building in the heart of London and one of the newest additions to the Soho House group.
    The evening included an auction with one lot selling at £24,000, which was a prize to go to sea on board HMS Kent as guests of the Commanding Officer, with HMS Kent having support Demelza for the past 20 years.
    Demelza’s Head of Major Donor Relationships Sarah Kemsley said: “This very special evening was for 110 of our loyal and dedicated supporters and was a great opportunity to keep this key group of people updated with the challenges that we face and our plans to substantially increase the number of families we are able to work with over the next few years. The generosity shown by those in the room to help us with our goals is humbling and heart-warming.”
    The evening included a performance by Only Men Aloud, who travelled from Wales to support Demelza. The group perform all styles of music including Welsh hymns and folk songs, opera and music theatre, swing and pop. They were formed in 2000 and in 2010 won a Classical Brit Award for Best Album of the Year.
  • Former footballer and TV pundit supports charity golf day

    by User Not Found | Sep 28, 2018
    TV football pundit and former Everton and West Ham striker Tony Cottee took time out to support a charity golf day organised by a Kent-based house builder – which raised nearly £14,000.

    The event was held at Dale Hill Hotel and Golf Club in Ticehurst, East Sussex, by Bellway Kent, which has its divisional head office in Kings Hill.

    Fifteen teams – made up of staff at Bellway Kent as well as sub-contractors, colleagues and friends – took to the course to raise funds for Demelza Hospice Care for Children and Cancer Research UK. Tony Cottee competed in one of the teams, as well as compering a charity auction after the event.

    Mark Harrop, Sales Director for Bellway Kent, said: “We are so pleased with the success of the golf day and want to thank everyone who attended this fantastic event. We’d also like to thank Tony for taking part and entertaining us.

    “We have an excellent relationship with both Demelza Hospice Care for Children and Cancer Research UK and we are looking forward to building on this in the future.

    “We are committed to supporting these two charities which both do such important work in the communities in which we build our new homes.”

    Pictured: Tony Cottee, with Kyle Johnson from Landmark Civil Engineering LTD and Managing Director for Bellway Kent, Chris Moore. 
  • Shop appeal for designer clothes

    by Sophie Batchelor | Sep 27, 2018
    Tired of Ted Baker? Grumpy with Gucci? Fed up with Fendi and bored with Burberry? Then ditch your designer dresses and haute couture and help a good cause at the same time!

    Demelza Hospice Care for Children has a new shop in Tonbridge which opened in August and has several designer clothes, shoes and accessories rails, which are proving very popular. So popular in fact that stock is selling extremely fast, meaning the shop is in need of some more donations.

    The shop would welcome items for women, men and children, whether it’s a stunning party dress, a work suit or designer shoes. Stock can be taken to the shop during opening hours which are Monday – Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

    Rachel Stead, Demelza’s Shop Operations Manager, said: “At our Tonbridge shop we have a designer wardrobe and designer rails. We’ve had Ralph Lauren menswear, Levi jeans and Ted Baker dresses, to name just a few. The designer wear at our Tonbridge shop sells really fast – which is why we need some more. We’d welcome menswear, jeans, dresses, handbags and shoes.

    “We’d also need other donations to keep our shop well stocked including children’s clothes and toys.” 

    Bucks Fizz singer and Demelza Vice President Cheryl Baker donated several items of designer clothing when she opened the Tonbridge shop in August.

    Those who donate and those who make purchases at the Demelza shop will both be helping the charity to provide specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones.

    Find your nearest Demelza shop at: https://www.demelza.org.uk/shop-with-us/local-shops
  • Demelza launches The Italian Job cycle challenge

    by User Not Found | Sep 26, 2018
    Demelza is looking for do-gooders to saddle up for its new cycle challenge, The Italian Job.

    The 225 mile ride will be set against the stunning backdrop of seven stunning Italian lakes and is taking place from 4-8 September, 2019. 
    Demelza is the first hospice in the UK to offer this once in a lifetime three-day fundraising cycle, which has been purposely designed to suit all biking abilities.

    Riders looking to up their gears, have the option to tackle the famous five mile Madonna del Ghisallo climb – not for the faint-hearted! 
    Challengers will need to purchase their own flights, travel insurance and raise £1650 sponsorship, with all money raised helping Demelza to provide specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions. 
    Events Coordinator Emma Cox, said: “We are so excited to be able to offer our supporters this once in a lifetime opportunity. Our challenge events always offer a fantastic experience for participants, with The Italian Job bringing breathtaking scenery and views – as well as the Madonna climb if challengers fancy ticking it off their bucket list. We hope lots of individuals and businesses will join #TeamDemelza for this epic adventure. 
    “People taking part can also ride happy knowing their involvement will be helping children with terminal conditions to build memories with their family, for however long they have together.” 
    Riders only need to pack their Lycra as bikes will be transported by Demelza to Italy on their behalf. 
    Registration for The Italian Job is £100 and is bookable here.
  • Demelza throws open its doors

    by User Not Found | Sep 24, 2018
    Families enjoyed a fun filled day when Demelza held an open day.

    We threw open the doors of our Sittingbourne children’s hospice and invited visitors to tour the facilities, meet the specialist staff and to learn more about how Demelza supports children with serious and terminal conditions and their families. There was also stalls, games and lots of tea and cake.

    The open day is an annual event for the local community. Visitors were able to visit the hydrotherapy room, the sensory room, bedrooms and gardens, as well as meet music and art therapists, the family support team, nursing and care staff and community fundraisers. 

    The day was the opportunity to find out more about volunteering and visitors were shown how their fundraising helps.

    Kat Cordrey, Senior Community Fundraiser said: “We had lots of visitors on our open day and it was great to welcome so many people. We really do appreciate the support.

    “Visitors had fun getting involved in games and enjoyed browsing our various stalls. They were able to find out more about the help and support we give our families – as well as finding out about the Demelza lottery and our fundraising events and challenges coming up and lots more.”

    There were 200 visitors to the event and over £2,000 was raised.
  • Demelza to support DIY SOS family

    by User Not Found | Sep 17, 2018
    Demelza will be helping to support two-year-old Arlo and his family while the BBC television programme DIY SOS carries out a life changing transformation of his home.

    The television programme stepped in after friends and relatives wrote in, stressing that the family home wasn’t suitable for Arlo’s needs, with the Big Build is to take place from Tuesday 16 October until Thursday 25 October in the Bromley/Chislehurst area.

    The programme makers are hoping local people can help out too and are looking for tradespeople and suppliers who might want to be involved. 

    Arlo was born with a strain of lung disease so rare that he is the only child in Britain with this particular genetic mutation. His lungs must be constantly supported which means he is dependent on oxygen 24/7. Arlo spent the first 15 months of his life in hospital and has only recently been able to live in the family home, with his mum, dad and two older brothers. However, the home isn’t suitable for Arlo’s needs – with even getting Arlo and all of his equipment in and out of the front door being an issue.

    Anyone who can help with the Big Build is asked to email DIYSOSBromley@bbc.co.uk
  • Join us at our open day

    by User Not Found | Sep 11, 2018
    Enjoy listening to a brass band, meet the big red and spotty mascot Dottie and see how you could dress for less by attending our Sittingbourne, Kent open day.

    This year the children’s hospice, in Rook Lane, will open its doors on Sunday 23 September from 11am-3pm, with the open day being an annual event for the local community.

    Entertaining the crowds will be the UK Paper Band, with visitors invited to listen while having tea, cake and other refreshments. There will be a fire engine on site and fire fighters to talk to and lots of stands to visit. These will include Demelza shops retail stands, a tombola, a raffle, a stand to find out more about signing up for the Demelza lottery and a volunteer stand for those who would like to join and support the charity.

    The charity’s corporate team will be available to explain how companies can get involved and the events team will be on hand to chat about fundraising fun coming up which include a Great Wall of China Trek, a cycling challenge in and around Milan, a quiz night and Halloween pumpkin hunts.

    There will be a tour of the hospice for those who would like to find out more. Visitors can chat with members of the care team and visit the sensory room, the soft play area and the hydrotherapy pool. They can also meet Demelza’s art and music therapists and the family support team

    Come along to find out more and to see how your support helps us. You can register for a ticket here.
  • Enjoy a ghoulish adventure in your local haunt

    by User Not Found | Sep 10, 2018
    A spook-tacular event is to take place during the October half term – with families urged to book their places now to avoid disappointment.
    Demelza has organised a Halloween Pumpkin Hunt with events to take place in Chislehurst, Gravesend, Greenwich, Hastings, Sevenoaks, West Malling and Whitstable on Thursday 25 October and Friday 26 October. 
    With each event pumpkins will be on display with various retailers and at local landmarks and children will be required to hunt for them around their local town while picking up treats from shops and businesses along the way.
    Children are encouraged to wear fancy dress with lots of witch, wizard, bat, cat and monsters costumes expected. The best Halloween costume in each location will win a prize and winners from each town will then be judged against each other for the chance of winning a Merlin family pass which has been kindly donated by our corporate partner Active International. The whole family are invited along for some frightfully good fun.
    The Halloween Pumpkin Hunt takes approximately one hour to complete and is open to children aged 3-11. Those taking part will be given their own Pumpkin Passport to get stamped and will be given treats at stops along the route.
    Tamsyn Clark, Demelza’s Director of Fundraising and Marketing, said: “The Halloween Pumpkin Hunt has taken place in Chislehurst for the past four years and has been a great success, so we wanted to introduce this to new locations across the South East.
    “This is a lovely family event - which we promise will not be scary at all. It will be lots of family fun. This is a safe way to take your children trick or treating, with less tricks and more treats. Plus the event will raise much needed funds for Demelza.”
    The Halloween Pumpkin Hunt costs £5 per child and grown-ups can go along for free. Each event is being sponsored and supported by local businesses.
    Find out more by visiting our Pumpkin Hunt event page
  • Families enjoy all the fun of the fayre

    by User Not Found | Sep 04, 2018
    There were smiling faces, wagging tails and lots of clowning around when a village fayre took place.
    The Farnborough Fayre was jointly organised by Demelza and the Farnborough Village Society – and it raised a staggering £7,474. It took place at Church Fields, Farnborough Village, Kent.
    Attractions included a dog show, circus skills, dance troops, Greenwich Concert Orchestra, pony rides, stalls, bouncy castles, refreshments and more.
    Claire Ellis-Waghorn, Demelza’s Deputy Director of Fundraising, said: “All in all it was a great day. This old village tradition and local favourite, dating back to 1292, was revived after a five year break. There was so much going on during the day and it was a great pleasure to see so many happy faces and to receive some wonderful feedback. Farnborough Fayre will continue to be an annual event and we hope it will get bigger and better each year. Thank you to everyone who helped and supported the event.”
    Money raised will be divided between Demelza and Farnborough’s Grand Christmas Switch On 2018.
  • Cyclists collect charity shield

    by User Not Found | Sep 03, 2018
    Pedal power and team spirit helped a cycling club to win a shield.
    Sheppey Velo has been named as the winning cycling club in the Demelza Pedal for a
    Purpose 2018 event which saw 155 riders complete a choice of a 10, 52 or 85 mile route across the Kent countryside.

    Sheppey Velo is a club based on the Isle of Sheppey, but has members all over the South of England. It meets on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The club was pleased to beat rivals CTC Swale who have won the shield for the past two years.

    Pedal for a Purpose raised £6,194 to help Demelza to provide specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones, so they can enjoy their time together as a family, for as long as they have. The event took place in June.
  • Demelza CEO on BBC Radio Kent

    by User Not Found | Sep 03, 2018
    Demelza’s CEO Ryan Campbell was on air on BBC Radio Kent last week – reviewing the national newspapers.

    Ryan spoke about some of the biggest stories of the day which included the Government Bereavement Allowance, developments in medicine and science and a nursing shortage. He also told listeners a little about Demelza and its origins.

    Ryan chatted with Breakfast Show presenters John Warnett and Anna Cookson. If you missed the show you can still have a listen by visiting https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/play/p06gsqlq

  • Celebrity auctioneer helps value old bible

    by User Not Found | Aug 24, 2018
    Celebrity auctioneer Michael Hogben kindly took a break from filming to help Demelza value an old and rare bible.

    Michael, the auctioneer and antiques dealer who appeared in BBC Bargain Hunt and his own series Auction Man, is currently filming with Dickinson’s Real Deal, which will be shown in December. He took some time out after the charity asked for his help when staff discovered the bible in a box of donated books.

    Michael said: “It genuinely dates back to the 1580s and has its original calf skin cover.

    It’s a personal bible which is written in old English. There is a previous owner inscription at the front which people love.

    “However, there are some pages missing from the front and it has suffered some damage – but someone will love it.”

    Demelza’s E-Commerce Assistant Dylan Murray took the book to Westenhanger Auctioneers and Valuers, near Folkestone, for Michael’s expert opinion.

    Dylan said: “At Demelza we are given a lot of books, but this is the oldest one we’ve ever had. We could sell the bible online as this helps us to reach the niche market that is looking for rare and unique items. It could also go to auction. We are still investigating its value – and Michael’s expertise have helped with that - but it is likely to be worth a lot more than the average value of a donated book!”

    The book is a very early Geneva Bible. The Geneva Bible is one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into English and was the type used by William Shakespeare and Oliver Cromwell. This type of bible was the first mechanically printed, mass produced bible to be available directly to the general public of the time. 

    The bible found features the word “breeches” which was later changed to “aprons”.  Only a small number of bibles include this word.

    Demelza has 26 charity shops in Kent, South East London and East Sussex, including specialist book shops. Money raised from the shops – and from E-Commerce- helps Demelza to continue to provide care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones.