Royal date for Valentine's Day
Guest blogger: Maria Surcel
The day not only marked the all popular Valentine’s Day, but for Ronald McDonald House Charities, a Royal date was on the cards.
The Duchess of Cambridge visited Liverpool and during her visit she stopped at Ronald McDonald House Alder Hey. The House is the largest Ronald McDonald House in Europe. Since opening in 1993 with just 26 bedrooms, the House has expanded twice to accommodate over 16,000 families.
The visit marked the opening of another 15 flats for long-stay families.
Kate was greeted by director of the House, Jan Thomas, and introduced to various VIPs and to families who use the House on a long-term basis.
She was met by 10-year-old Ethan Harris, who presented her with a Valentine’s Day card he had made himself.
The card, on red paper with painted spots, included on the front a picture of his brother Carson who is receiving treatment in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Inside, Ethan had written the Duchess a poem which read: ‘You’re smiley like the sun, you’re bright like a star, you’re light when it’s dark and I love your spark.’
Kate was delighted and said: ‘Thank you, that’s lovely.’
Ethan’s family have used Ronald McDonald House Alder Hey since Carson, who will celebrate his second birthday on Sunday, was born premature. Carson has complex medical needs resulting from a heart problem.
Their mother, Kirsty Harris, 32, from Accrington, Lancashire, said: ‘Ethan has been up since 5am this morning, he’s been so excited. It was his idea to make the card and write the poem. I couldn’t believe it when I saw all the effort he went to. This is a day he will remember for the rest of his life.’
Kate also met Emily Welch, 7, who was somewhat star-struck when the Duchess said hello. Worried-looking Emily turned to her mother, and her mother told the little girl: ‘The Duchess doesn’t bite.’
Kate laughed and told Emily she had ‘lovely, cute eyes’.
Jan gave a formal welcome to the Duchess and said:
“Years ago the families of children in hospital were encouraged to stay away. Wonderfully, times have changed and we now know children make a better recovery when their families are nearby. We know some families will never take their children home but being here for the last few weeks and days makes the world of difference.“
Ethan then helped Kate unveil a plaque commemorating her visit, with the Duchess telling him: ‘Your name should be on this too.’
The Duchess ended her visit by spending 10 minutes on a private visit to one of the new Ronald McDonald House flats with one of the families. Their daughter Emma (pictured) has been receiving treatment for a brain tumor and the family have been living in the House for two years.
The Duchess cited the new flats ‘a fantastic place’.