• 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. 
  • Demelza creates Baby Shark challenge video

    by User Not Found | Aug 22, 2018
    Children supported by Demelza have created their own #BabySharkChallenge video.
    Nurses and healthcare assistants can be seen dancing around a parked Demelza Mini Cooper at our hospice in Sittingbourne, Kent, along with children and their siblings sporting shark fins, rubber rings and other fun props. 

    The children, aged four to 15, were joined by Rochester mum-of-four Donna Fenn, who went viral earlier this month with her own take on their challenge. 

    Demelza hopes the video will help to challenge common misconceptions that hospices are ‘sad, gloomy places.’ 

    Demelza’s Creative Services Manager Stuart Hubbard, who choreographed the video said: “There is a common misconception that hospices are sad, gloomy places but hopefully this video shows people just how much fun there is be had at Demelza. 

    “Everyone working at Demelza strives to bring the most joy, fun and relaxation to the lives of children and families we meet. Our network of volunteers also bring energy, passion, and dedication to help make Demelza all about life.”

    Demelza provides specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones, so they can enjoy time together as a family, for as long as they have. 

    By making a donation, Demelza can help more children to receive the care and attention they need to live the most fulfilling life and that they and their family have the opportunity to build precious memories.    
    Now we’re challenging YOU to record your own video for the #BabySharkChallenge – make sure to tag Demelza in your post when you upload it to social media and we’ll share our favourites!

    You can find our social media channels linked below:


  • Singer Cheryl Baker opens Demelza shop in Tonbridge

    by User Not Found | Aug 21, 2018
    There was Bucks Fizz, balloons and bunting when singer Cheryl Baker opened a new Demelza shop in Tonbridge High Street.

    Demelza Vice President Cheryl cut a ribbon to officially open the new store, as well as donating skirts and jackets to the shop and serving a customer. She also did a little shopping herself while there, buying some new black and beidge spotty shoes and some red and white spotty Demelza cups.

    At the opening the Bucks Fizz singer said: “I’m very pleased to be involved with the opening of this new shop. My home town is not far from the Tonbridge shop so it’s nice for me to have a Demelza shop so close by. I’ll be using it lots!” 

    Demelza now has 26 shops across Kent, South East London and East Sussex.

    Also at the opening was Demelza child Bethany Spendlove, 15 and her dad Stephen, who live at Ightham, Sevenoaks, Demelza Trustees and Directors and volunteers.

    Guests enjoyed Bucks Fizz, cakes and photos with Cheryl, as well as a bit of bargain hunting for themselves and their homes.
    Rachel Stead, Shops Operations Manager with Demelza, said: “Opening a new shop takes a great deal of effort and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped. The shop looks fantastic and we have some great stock.” 
    The shop is at 48 Tonbridge High Street for those who would like to bag some bargains of their own. Donations can now be taken to the shop and the store is also on the look-out for more volunteers.

    Money raised from the shop helps Demelza to continue to provide care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones.
  • Families enjoy a day at the Great British seaside

    by User Not Found | Aug 20, 2018
    Families supported by Demelza enjoyed theme park rides, rock pooling and crazy golf when they got together to enjoy a fun day out.
    The event, organised by Demelza’s Family Support Team, involved 23 families and even a late afternoon rain shower did nothing to dampen spirits, with a fun time had by all.
    The day started on the beach with buckets, spades and sandcastles with the beach made accessible to children with limited mobility thanks to all terrain wheelchairs provided by Beach Within Reach. There was a beach safari and rock pooling thanks to help from the Thanet Coast Project.
    There was further support from the local community with Dreamland, Kiddes Corner and Strokes Adventure Golf all throwing their doors open for free, as well as extra help for families thanks to a group of Demelza volunteers.
    Zoe Workman, Demelza Family Support Worker, said: “It was a lovely day out for our families. I’d like to thank everyone who supported the day. Being able to provide opportunities for families to meet others who are experiencing similar circumstances and create precious memories together made the whole day so worthwhile.”
  • Charlton Athletic coach pays a birthday visit

    by User Not Found | Aug 17, 2018
    Children with serious and terminal conditions presented Charlton Athletic Football Club coach and former player Johnnie Jackson with a collection of hand-made birthday cards when he paid them a visit.

    Johnnie Jackson, who retired from playing in May, at the end of the football season, is a regular supporter of Demelza Hospice Care for Children. His latest visit to the charity’s Eltham hospice was the day after his 36th birthday.

    During his visit he met two of the children who had made him cards, with their creations featuring fingerprints, paints and glitter. He also had a tour of the hospice, including a new extension, as well as chatting with staff.

    The father-of-two said: “I’ve been visiting Demelza for a number of years. My first trip to the Eltham children’s hospice was a Christmas visit with the Charlton Athletic club when we handed over presents. I met some inspiring children and that first visit stayed with me. 

    “The staff at Demelza do amazing work and I like to give my support whenever I can.” 
    Demelza provides specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones, so they can enjoy their time together for as long as they have.

    As a charity Demelza is dependent on the generosity of supporters to keep services going. To give your support please visit the Donate page.

  • Hundreds enjoy foamy family event

    by User Not Found | Aug 13, 2018

    Around 830 adults and children enjoyed a foamy fun filled family day out when Demelza held an event at Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent.

    Bubble Rush Kent involved ‘bubblers’ of all ages making their way through 4ft (1.2m) walls of coloured foam bubbles, going twice around a 2.5 km course at the park – all in support of the charity.

    Participants included children, dads, mums, aunts, uncles, grandparents and carers. Those taking part included families supported by Demelza and others who wanted to raise money for a good cause and have a fun day out with the family.

    There was an energetic warm up with Kent Fitness 4U, with the event started by the mayor of Maidstone David Naghi. Compering and geeing up the crowd was a team from KMFM.

    Demelza Events Co-ordinator Emma Cox said: “It was such a great day and we were thrilled that so many people came along. As well as those taking part there were also many spectators, which resulted in more than 1,000 people at the event.

    “It was cloudy and cool, but the rain held off until after the event which was good. I’d like to say a big thankyou to all who took part and everyone who supported us.

    “As a charity, Demelza is almost entirely dependent on the generosity of our supporters to provide the funds that keep our services going. We are really grateful to everyone who turned out and made this fundraising event such a brilliant day.”

    All bubblers were given a Bubble Rush T-shirt, a commemorative medal and a goody bag.

    It was Demelza’s third Bubble Rush event this year. There was also a Bubble Rush Brighton which was held in Hove Park and a Bubble Rush London which took place at Avery Hill Park. Bubble Rush Kent is an annual event.

    Those who missed the fun need not despair and do not need to wait as Demelza has many more fun events and challenges planned this year. To find out more visit our Challenges and Events page

    Pictures from this event can be found here

  • Ships ahoy for Demelza siblings

    by User Not Found | Aug 10, 2018
    Brothers and sisters of children supported by Demelza had a fab time when they attended a two day sailing course on the River Thames.
    Four children took part, aged eight to 14, with them all passing a Royal Yachting Association course at the Ahoy Centre in Deptford. The weather was extremely hot but the youngsters managed to keep cool with regular water fights.
    Demelza supports the whole family, holding regular events and outings for siblings.
    Family Support Worker Teresa Motton said: “During the two days the children went out on the River Thames and learnt the basics of sailing. It was a fantastic couple of days with some great children.”
    The cost of the course for each child was mostly funded by the Ahoy Centre, with Demelza only having to pay a small charge for each participant.
  • Cheryl Baker to open new Demelza shop

    by User Not Found | Aug 10, 2018
    Demelza is excited to announce that Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker is to open its new Tonbridge shop on Tuesday 21 August, at 11am.

    Cheryl, a Eurovision Song Contest Winner, is one of Demelza’s Vice Presidents and regularly supports Demelza events.

    The singer has kindly offered to donate several items to the shop, which will be at 48 High Street, Tonbridge. She will also have a short stint behind the till where she will serve a customer.

    The new shop will sell clothes, shoes, toys, bric-a-brac, books and household items and bargain hunters can shop in the knowledge that their hard earned cash will be used by Demelza to provide specialist care and emotional support for children with serious and terminal conditions and their loved ones.

    Donations can be dropped off at the shop from Thursday 16 August. 

    If you would like to volunteer to help at the shop, even for just a few hours a week, then please contact Demelza’s Area Retail Manager Shirley Winch, on 07712 321392.
  • Picnics enjoyed at family event

    by User Not Found | Aug 10, 2018
    Families enjoyed picnics, games and fun in the sun when Demelza held an event at Cobtree Manor Park in Maidstone, Kent.

    The picnic day attracted six families from the local area who enjoyed meeting and sharing similar experiences.

    The very hot temperatures meant families set up picnic blankets in the shade and enjoyed ice creams and ice lollies to help keep cool.

    Mum Jude Bell was at the event with her family. She said: “It’s lovely for us to be able to go out as a family and to be around people who understand. Events organised by Demelza are always so well planned and welcoming and friendly.”

    To find out more about future family events, please visit the Demelza Family Events page.
  • New care at home project is launched

    by User Not Found | Aug 06, 2018
    Demelza has launched a new pilot project which will see children in Kent supported in the family home.

    Care@Home was launched in August and involves four families, with children under five, who live close to Demelza’s Kent hospice.  

    Children’s Palliative Care Nurse Beth Helen said: “We have found that not all families feel comfortable about coming to a hospice, but they would like our help. Also it can also be easier for families if we go to them rather than them having to pack lots of equipment and bring their child to us.

    “Families have told us this is something they would like and we aim to give them a choice in the future. Some will still like to drop their children off and have a much needed break, others like to stay at our hospices as a family and others want support at home.

    ”In family homes we can provide a range of support, depending on the child and family’s individual needs. We can do a range of activities with children, looking after them while their parents have a break, or support a relative who might not have the confidence to look after the child on their own. We can offer the children new experiences such as art activities, story time, whatever they enjoy.”

    The project has received significant funding from global reinsurance firm Swiss Re, but with all Demelza services it will require further and future funding to be rolled out to other families in need. 

    The pilot is due to end on October 25 and there will be an on-going review to swiftly build on the successes.
  • Garden opens for Demelza

    by User Not Found | Aug 03, 2018
    More than 400 people enjoyed an afternoon of sun and shade and music and tranquillity when a couple opened their one acre garden to raise money for Demelza.

    The garden is in Sidcup and belongs to Jacky and David Cook and includes potted plants, hanging baskets, water features, a secret garden, trees, colourful flowers, shrubs, herbaceous plants a wooden gazebo, winding paths and a fairy garden which is lit up at night. The garden opening also included performances by the Greenwich Concert Band, of which Mr Cook is a member and classical guitarist Osamu Yano, as well as stalls and refreshments.

    The event raised £3,000.

    Jacky Cook said: “The garden is our pride and joy and we work very hard on it. The day was a real team effort with help from our family and Demelza staff and volunteers. It was a lovely event. We really went to town and put up balloons and red and white spotty bunting in the Demelza colours.”
  • Cyclists raise more than £15,000

    by User Not Found | Aug 03, 2018
    A team of more than 40 cyclists took part in Ride London for Demelza and between them raised a staggering £15,502!
    The determined riders cycled 100 miles in the wind and rain and both the participants and Demelza were thrilled to see the fundraising target smashed.
    The team included two parents whose children and families are supported by Demelza and two riders who work with Swiss Re, a leading reinsurance firm which has offices in Folkestone, Kent and London, who are corporate supporters.
    Prudential Ride London sets off from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and follows a 100 mile route on closed roads through the capital and into Surrey’s stunning countryside. With testing climbs and a route made famous by the world’s best cyclists, it’s a spectacular route which finishes at The Mall in central London.
    Ride London is known as the London Marathon of cycling with the 20,000 places selling out in days. Demelza will be entering a team again next year and there are currently places spare.

    For more details and to sign up visit the Ride London 2019 event page.
  • Cheryl Baker presents special cot

    by User Not Found | Jul 31, 2018
    Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker presented Demelza Hospice Care for Children with a specialist piece of equipment and heard how it will help grieving parents.

    Demelza was presented with a cold cot thanks to Abigail’s Footsteps, a national charity focussed on stillbirth bereavement. Cheryl Baker is a vice president with both charities.

    During her visit to the Demelza children’s hospice in Sittingbourne Cheryl visited a special bedroom where a baby or child can lay at rest for up to five days after they have died, allowing their family to say goodbye in a familiar and supportive environment. The special bedroom has to be kept cold, which can mean parents cannot stay in the room for too long without becoming uncomfortable. Thanks to the donation families could choose to only have the cot kept cold and they would also be able to take their baby out of the room.Cheryl Baker

    Ryan Campbell, Demelza’s Chief Executive, said: “This will make such a difference to our families. We are very grateful for this donation which will help families at a very difficult time.”

    The cold cot was given to Abigail’s Footsteps by an Aylesford resident Harry House. Harry was born premature and his chances of survival were slim, but he survived against the odds and has recently celebrated his 18th birthday. He wanted to mark the milestone by doing something special to help others. Unfortunately he was unable to attend the presentation as he was on holiday.

    David Ward, the founder and Chief Executive of Abigail’s Footsteps presented the cot with Cheryl Baker. Over the past five years Abigail’s Footsteps have purchased and then donated 15 cold cots to hospitals and hospices.