This is the first of a new weekly column from Chestnut Tree House, the only children’s hospice in West and East Sussex.
Each week, Linda Perry will highlight the work of the hospice. If you would like more information about the hospice go to their website (see link below).
“Much time at Chestnut Tree House is spent making precious moments for the families we support.
“Sadly, sometimes those moments come to end as one of the children our Care Team have known for some years dies.
“We have a special suite, ‘Stars’, at the hospice where we look after the child until their funeral.
“This means they can be looked after in a special bedroom which is kept cool, providing the family with the opportunity to say their final goodbyes.
“Many of us have had to arrange a funeral for a parent or grandparent and understand how difficult this can be. Planning a funeral for your own child can be very challenging for everyone involved.
“Some young people plan their own funeral before they die, sometimes in secret. The detail can be down to the clothes to be worn or the colour of their nail varnish.
“Some young people we look after certainly like to surprise with their ideas even after they have died.
“Each funeral can be so different and the breadth of experience of the staff at Chestnut Tree House is helpful in giving support and ideas, from the songs to sing, music to play and the readings to remember them.
“We have had everyone wearing pink and even pink coffins, to more traditional options with an old fashioned horse and carriage.
“The ‘Stars’ service at Chestnut Tree House is offered to all children in Sussex, including any family who have experienced the unexpected death of their child.”
Chestnut Tree House, in Dover Lane, Arundel, cares for over 280 children and young adults from 0-25 years of age with progressive life-limiting conditions.
For more information on Chestnut Tree House visit the website www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk