Steyning staff nurse tells of ‘fantastic’ hospice role

Camille de Pierpont, Chestnut Tree House staff nurse
Camille de Pierpont, Chestnut Tree House staff nurse

FROM Brussels to Poling, with love, has been the path which brought a Belgian nurse to Chestnut Tree House.

And now the children’s hospice hopes that Camille de Pierpont’s ‘fabulous experience’ of working there will inspire others to join the team caring for youngsters with a life-limiting illness.

The hospice, the only one of its kind in Sussex, is holding its next recruitment open day on Tuesday at Chestnut Tree House, in Dover Lane, Poling.

After qualifying as a paediatric nurse in Belgium, Camille, 24, from Steyning, visited a similar event last autumn, successfully applied for a job at the hospice and started work there in November.

She had come to England because her husband, Wauthier, who is also Belgian, had started work as a gun-maker at the West Chiltington workshop of J. Roberts and Son nearly two years ago. The couple were married in August last year.

She said: “The atmosphere at Chestnut Tree House is very special.

“Every family lives or has lived through very difficult, sad and devastating experiences.

“It is true that there are ups and downs, but these families remain strong, united and close in spite of the situation.

“It is really very enriching to see them; it makes me realise what is really important in life.

“Many people who hear about Chestnut Tree House think of a sad place. It is true that we sometimes live through sad and inexplicable moments, but the days can also be full of joy, laughs and happiness.

“The feeling you get when you see a sick child or a child affected by a rare disease smiling at you, is wonderful, it makes your day.”

Staff at Chestnut Tree House care for 300 children and their families across Sussex. People interested in the roles of community and in-house staff nurses, in-house care support workers and housekeeping are encouraged to attend the open day.

Drop-in sessions and tours will take place from 9.30am to 1pm and 3.30pm to 7pm. Call 01903 706317 for more information.