This is how a sunflower dedicated to a nine-year-old boy from Huntingdon is looking just over a month after it was potted by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.
The Duchess promised to arrange the tribute in memory of Fraser Delf, who died in January of Coats plus syndrome, during a video call with his mum Carla, dad Stuart and 13-year-old brother Stuie for Children’s Hospice Week.
She delivered on that promise just days later, on Thursday, 25 June, when she joined families supported by EACH, a volunteer gardener and staff at The Nook, our new Norfolk hospice opened by The Duchess in November, to plant a sensory garden.
EACH, in keeping with the family’s wishes, moved the sunflower to its hospice in Milton, Cambridgeshire, where Fraser spent the final weeks of his life, and planted it in the grounds.
The family visited and saw the sunflower, now in full bloom, for the first time on Friday (31 July). They colour-coordinated as Fraser loved pink, with the pattern on Carla’s dress representing him – their shining star.
Carla said: “The sunflower looks so bright and beautiful, just like Fraser. The centre looks like a heart shape, just perfect. I recently saw a poem that said sunflowers choose to live their brightest lives as they know they won’t be around for long and that really fits with Fraser.”
The Delfs were first introduced to EACH in October 2018, where our nurses helped to manage great pain Fraser would experience as a result of his condition.
By November 2019 Fraser was deteriorating rapidly and the family moved to our hospice in Milton, believing they only had days left to spend together. Fraser managed to defeat the odds, lasting seven weeks, before he died on 17 January, 2020.
With support from EACH staff, the family made many lasting memories in their time at the hospice. To show their appreciation, Stuie ran 5k every day throughout May, with his endeavours raising over £16,300 for EACH during its time of need over lockdown.
Aside from being congratulated by The Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall during the same video call, Stuie also received a video message of congratulations from Captain Sir Tom Moore, whose fundraising efforts helped inspire him.
EACH has been able to survive an initial devastating drop in income caused by the pandemic, however, its loss of income will continue for some time, including a period of recovery over the coming months and years that carries huge uncertainty. It is still possible to sponsor Stuie and support us by visiting www.justgiving.com/ourstarfraser.