These are two of the fifty hospices around the UK providing a lifeline service to the families of around 24,000 children and young people in the country with life shortening conditions.
You might imagine the hospices to be melancholy places where it would be appropriate to tip toe around and speak in hushed tones. On the contrary, both Derian House and Eden Valley provide a home from home where life in all its fullness is celebrated. The warmth of our greeting was matched by the vibrant, colourful artwork adorning the walls. Individual name plates on the bedroom doors give more than a hint of the personalities of those in residence during that week.
Laugh-out-loud humour abounds and it would be easy to mistake the staff for angels without wings, such is their ability to celebrate the lives of these brave youngsters by recognising and drawing out their individual talents whilst at the same time offering genuine compassion and practical 24/7 support.
The proceeds from the sale of English Lakes Sam the dog enabled us to present £3,000 to both Derian House and Eden Valley but left us with a desire to give much, much more.