Richard House celebrates fifteen years of supporting local families

Published: July 30, 2015

More than 100 people attended a celebration event last night to mark the fifteenth anniversary of Richard House Children’s Hospice.

The celebration, hosted at the hospice in Beckton, included a walk down memory lane, with a timeline and photo exhibition showcasing the work of the hospice in the community over the years.

Speakers included founder and life president of Richard House Anthea Hare, chief executive Peter Ellis, chairman Sir Robin Knowles CBE and a former service user, Harry Singh.

Peter said: “Without the hard work of so many people our hospice would never have got off the ground, let alone grow to provide care and support to nearly 1,000 local families. Tonight was a great opportunity to thank many of these people.”

Harry, who has spinal muscular atrophy and was a service user at the hospice from 2002 to 2012, said: “Richard House will always be the place where I was able to become a teenager and have the opportunity and chance to dream, and to pursue whatever passions I had in my life.”

Matthew Porter was also a guest at the event. His family, from Newham, was one of the first to use the hospice services with their daughter Katie who had Tay Sachs disease, a genetic disorder that causes progressive damage to the nervous system.

Matthew said: “Being here tonight was a chance for me to relive positive memories and re-engage with the vision of the charity.” Matthew described the family’s experience with Richard House as ‘the counterbalance to the desperation of Katie’s diagnoses’. Katie died in 2002, aged four.

Richard House are grateful to Beckton-based company, Debono Foods Ltd who provided all of the food on the evening and Unilever who provided the drinks.

About Richard House

Richard House Children’s Hospice was founded by Anthea Hare, a paediatric nurse inspired by her work at Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, and through helping her parents to look after her severely autistic brother Richard, who died as a young man.

Anthea worked tirelessly during the 1990s to build up the support necessary to set up the Capital’s first children’s hospice. The charity was officially registered as Richard House Trust in 1996 and in 2000 staff began providing care and support for local children and young people with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses and their families. The residential unit at the Beckton location opened in 2002.

Services provided at Richard House include personalised health care, end-of-life care, short breaks for families, play specialist support, music therapy, leisure and social activities, bereavement support, spiritual care and much more. Children and young adults can be referred in a number of ways such as through their GP or community nurse, and are mostly from east and north-east London.

Richard House focuses on providing an environment where families can create happy, positive experiences and memories together.