Spent a couple of hours at Claire House on the Wirral today. Its a Children's Hospice. Chief Executive, Karen Wright, filled us in on the background to Claire House and to the Children's Hospice movement generally. I already knew that there is very limited and variable funding for hospices generally, but I was surprised to learn that there is no regular public funding at all for Children's Hospices. Just to maintain Claire House costs in excess of two million pounds every year. That is a serious amount of fund raising. A childen's hospice is a wonderful cause, and there are a few celebrities who help out. The room in which we met had been opened by Mr and Mrs Wayne Rooney, and celebrities don't come much bigger than that.
Although Claire House is on the Wirral, it provides services for North Wales, and a Welsh Advisory Board is currently being established, under the Chairmanship of former Clwyd West MP, Gareth Thomas. I've spent quite a bit of time with Gareth over the last year, and I reckon he's just the man for he job. Hope House provides children's hospice services for Mid Wales. I resolved to try to arrange a visit there next week.
A Labour MP, Joe Benton, who represents Bootle was also there, and what a truly decent man he seemed. I must admit I could be a touch influenced by knowledge that he voted in favour of reducing the legal limit for abortions from 24 weeks earlier this week. Clearly a Labour MP with some real backbone.
The real reason I posted on this was that I wanted to publish a photograph of a wonderful work of art in the form of a metallic tree - a sort of 'Tree of Life' which inspires those who see it to value the lives of those who die young. But I took the photograph when my camera was in 'video' mode, and cannot transfer it onto my post.