Duchess of Cambridge boosts East Anglia's Children's Hospices

Duchess of Cambridge talks to a young girl during a visit to Each, Ipswich
Image caption Media from around the world reported on the duchess' visit to Each in Ipswich

The Duchess of Cambridge's patronage of East Anglia's Children's Hospices (Each) has given the charity a global profile.

Each said its website received hits from 69 countries on the day the duchess announced she had become its patron.

Ten foreign publications also published the news, including in Brazil and USA.

Melanie Chew, fundraising director, said: "Companies are contacting us and wanting to work with us - there's a lot of scope for the future."

Media from Canada, USA and Australia arrived in Ipswich to watch the duchess officially open the new Treehouse hospice, where she also made her first public speech.

The Treehouse was built after £3m was raised in less than a year.

'Huge comfort'

Each cares for children with life-threatening illnesses in Suffolk and North Essex, from hospices in Ipswich, Milton and Quidenham.

The Treehouse appeal was launched as the charity had long outgrown its residential bungalow in Ipswich.

Work on the new hospice, less than two miles away from the bungalow on four acres of woodland donated to Each, finished in March 2011.

Nine months later, the duchess visited the Milton hospice and soon afterwards Each was asked if it would welcome her as a patron.

Each chief executive Graham Butland said: "The announcement of the patronage brought the world's press and media to us in a way which we hadn't experienced before.

Image caption Richard and Joshua Margereson (left) enjoy music with the Duchess of Cambridge

"I'm not usually talking to radio stations in Sacramento, California, at quarter past midnight.

"We were just coming down from that and then came the news that she was coming to open the Treehouse."

'Difficult journey'

Mr Butland said the duchess' involvement had also had been a "huge comfort" to families of children at the hospices.

"It clearly can't take away the very difficult journey that their child will have, but to have that support is a major step for them," he said.

Joshua Margereson, 20, was diagnosed with duchenne muscular dystrophy when he was three and has been receiving care at Each for 12 years.

The duchess sat in on a music therapy session during the visit, where Mr Margereson said he was being "very loud" playing the drums.

"I'd been very excited for a long time," he said.

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