HRH The Duchess of Cambridge opens The Treehouse

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge opens The Treehouse


March 2012

The day dawned bright and sunny, and staff were on site from 6.30am to make the final preparations and start greeting guests.

Media and members of the public started gathering from the early hours, keen to catch a glimpse of The Duchess and be part of this historic day - the day Her Royal Highness was to make her first ever public speech.

Waiting guests were kept entertained by street theatre, music and acrobatics, which added to the atmosphere of excitement and celebration.

At around 10.30am came the moment everyone had been waiting for - The Duchess arrived, welcomed by cheers, waves and beaming smiles.

The Duchess stopped to chat to members of the public and local school children, before making her way to the entrance of The Treehouse to meet with dignitaries including Mayor of Ipswich John Le Grys and Ipswich MP Ben Gummer. The Duchess then met with EACH Chief Executive Graham Butland, Director of Care Tracy Rennie and Head of Palliative Care at The Treehouse Simon King, to begin her tour of The HRH the Duchess of Cambridge met families and played music with the children during her visitTreehouse.

The tour started with meeting families in the play area, where The Duchess took part in art activities with the children. She was also presented with an EACH bracelet by one of the children, which she promptly put on and wore for the rest of the day.

From the play area it was on to the sensory room and the music room, where The Duchess met with more families and played music with the children. She was then shown the bedrooms and the hydrotherapy pool, before making her way to the main lounge

After a short introduction from EACH Chair of Trustees Charles Paull, The Duchess stepped up to the microphone to deliver her first public speech. You can watch the Duchess' speech on the BBC News website.

After her speech, The Duchess met with staff, members of The Treehouse Appeal committee, volunteers and fundraising supporters, before moving outside to the front of the hospice building where she rounded off her historic visit by planting a tree in the hospice grounds.

As a final touching gesture, The Duchess was presented with posies of flowers by Tilly Jennings, aged 6 and Bethany Woods, aged 10, who both use The Treehouse hospice services.

Tilly's mum Jeanette summed up what were no doubt the feelings of many who had met The Duchess and been part of this historic day: "Today is a dream come true for Tilly - it means everything."

Media coverage:

Follow the links below to see news articles from the day

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  • The play specialists are excellent and I also get inspiration from the activities they organise. Heather, Lucy’s mum
  • Children like Lucy don’t get the opportunity to go to sleepovers or to their friends for tea, so the interaction she has at the hospice is priceless. Heather, Lucy’s mum
  • EACH has helped us keep Stanley’s memory alive. And allows us to look to the future Brad, Stanley's Dad
  • Renee loves going to The Treehouse, but it’s great that care staff are also able to visit us at home too. Stacy, Renee’s mum
  • EACH helped us with coping mechanisms and special ways of remembering Stanley. Brad, Stanley's Dad
  • I can’t imagine what it would have been like. Nobody should have to, every family should be offered the support we were, and are still getting Claire, Jacob’s mum
  • It’s been a great opportunity to meet other parents in a similar situation, something that doesn't really happen anywhere else. Helen, William’s mum
  • EACH helps us to create lovely memories and has played an important part in all of our lives, not just Lucy’s. Heather, Lucy’s mum
  • We are also supported by the 24/7 True Colours nurses and it’s so reassuring knowing we can call on them whenever we need support or advice Helen, William’s mum
  • We arrived at the hospice feeling scared and alone. We had so many questions – they answered them all and more. Claire, Jacob’s mum
  • EACH supports families when they’re at their absolute lowest, helping them to come to terms with their child’s illness, losing them and beyond Brad, Stanley's Dad
  • I really love going to the hospice. I’ve made friends there and get to do loads of fun stuff. Renee
  • When we first heard about the hospice we were apprehensive because we didn’t know what to expect. When we got there we realised it was a lovely place where Renee would be well looked after, and we would be able to have a much-needed break. Stacy, Renee’s mum
  • I didn’t realise hope was a gift until I became a mum. My little boy taught me many things and that was one of them Claire, Jacob’s mum

The Treehouse

St. Augustine’s Gardens,
Ipswich, IP3 8NS


Church Lane, Milton,
Cambridge, CB24 6AB

The Nook

Pigot Lane, Framingham Earl
Norfolk, NR14 7PX