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Duchess of Cambridge meets Evelina London families at new Ronald McDonald House

Posted on Tuesday 28th February 2017
The Duchess of Cambridge meets Isabelle Randall

Her Royal Highness received a posy of flowers from Isabelle Randall, aged eight.

The Duchess of Cambridge today officially opened the new 59-bedroom Ronald McDonald House Evelina London, providing a ‘home away from home’ for families of children at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

Her Royal Highness toured the new House and met Ronald McDonald House staff and Evelina London doctors and nurses.

Joining in on a Pancake Day arts and crafts session with children, Her Royal Highness spoke to parents who have found that the new House eases the difficulties of having a child staying at Evelina London. She heard many moving stories from families and siblings who explained that staying at the House greatly eased the stress and strain of having a sick child, and gave them more time to concentrate on the condition of their child.

Her Royal Highness received a posy from eight-year-old Isabelle (Izzy) Randall from West Sussex. Her brother Luke, six, suffers from multiple complications so she is currently living at the House with her parents. 

Following the unveiling of a plaque, Jon Haward, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald Charities, explained: “This House means that families of a sick child who may live some distance away can now be near the ward, yet enjoy a degree of normal family life. Going into hospital can be a frightening experience for a child and it is important that they have their family close by to help them in their recovery.”

The new building is more than just a place to stay. It has a large day-room, kitchens and dining areas, laundry rooms, playrooms and has full disabled access. There is also a telephone in each bedroom with a direct line to the child’s ward.

Dr Grenville Fox, Clinical Director, Children's Medical Specialties & Neonatology at Evelina London, says: “This new House will mean more than double the number of families can be near their children when they most need them. It provides a welcoming and nurturing environment just a short walk from our front doors, helping families to best support their children.”

The new House has been built in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, which made a significant contribution to the cost of the build, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, which provided the land and helped to bring the parties together.

This is particularly important for families whose children are being cared for at Evelina London Children’s Hospital because we have many specialist services treating children from London, South East England and beyond.

Kieron Boyle, Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, says: “We are delighted to have supported the Ronald McDonald House Evelina London to help families continue being families during a testing time in their lives. A huge congratulations to everyone involved in this landmark project for generations of families to come.”

You can catch up on a summary of the visit, as shared on social media, by looking at our Storify.