Muswell Hill boy, 11, meets Samantha Cameron as Barnet hospice build starts
- Credit: Getty Images for Noah's Ark Children's Hospice
A boy from Muswell Hill met Samantha Cameron when she visited what will be north London’s first children’s hospice.
The wife of former prime minister David Cameron was in Barnet on Tuesday to mark the start of building work on The Ark children’s hospice.
Mrs Cameron, whose six-year-old son Ivan died in 2009, said: “It’s an honour to meet with the children and families today, some of whom will benefit greatly from using The Ark, and some, sadly, who have already said goodbye to their treasured children.
“When my son Ivan died we were devastated, and we will always remain so. It’s something no parent should go through.
“The Ark will provide a peaceful place in which to take care of children and their families as they face death, but it will also be an environment for children, their siblings and parents to enjoy life and make magical memories together,” she added.
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During the visit Mrs Cameron met 11-year-old Alonso from Muswell Hill who has undergone 46 procedures since he was born with short-gut syndrome.
Alonso has spent much of his life in hospital. He and his mum have been helped by Noah’s Ark since he was a baby.
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Mum Enkelejda said: “What family means to me is Noah’s Ark. Noah’s Ark was our family at Christmas and birthdays. Noah’s Ark put a present under the tree when I couldn’t afford one.
“There are no words for how important they have been to us,” she added.
Although there are more than 1,200 babies and children with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions in north and central London there is no children’s hospice building.
But The Ark, set within an eight acre nature reserve in Byng Road, Barnet, will add to the service the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice provides.
Rose Charles, whose grandson Ben died in 2014 of a rare genetic condition. now cares for his sister Sophie, aged 11, who has been given the same diagnosis.
“We need to provide a dignified place for families, especially when they are going through that final transition,” she said. “End-of-life care and overnight stays are so vital to families like ours, but sadly Noah’s Ark wasn’t able to provide them for Ben. My hope is the new hospice building will be there in time for Sophie.”
The charity is now asking the public to donate an hour’s pay to help it raise the £2 million needed to complete the build.
Communications director Alison Goodman added: “I ask anyone moved by the children and families we support, to join us in giving an hour’s salary. Whatever amount you earn, and can donate, will help give our families the precious moments they so need.”