A children’s nurse who is cycling to 54 children’s hospices across the UK has received a warm welcome during her stop in Essex.
Inspired by her work with seriously ill children for more than 10 years, Francesca founded ChatUK (Children’s Hospices Across The UK), a project aimed at creating a network between the independent UK children’s hospices and educating the nation about the importance of the essential service they provide. Vitally, she’ll be raising funds for children’s palliative care charity, Together for Short Lives, to support children’s hospices.
Starting on Monday 20th June at Helen and Douglas House in Oxford, Francesca Lennon has already visited children’s hospices in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Little Havens was her 38th visit, which took place on the afternoon of Friday 5th August.
Families supported by Little Havens, plus employees from the charity, came out to cheer Francesca as she rode down the driveway towards the hospice, based in Benfleet, Essex. Francesca and her step-dad Tony Harris – support rider and driver – were then shown around Little Havens by Care Team Member Jake Wilkinson before enjoying some well-earned tea and cake.
Francesca says, “Wow! After a tough day cycling with tired legs and a tired head, my mood was completely transformed by the welcome I received from Little Havens! I arrived to see some very excited people waving flags at the entrance, which made me very excited that I’d arrived, only to be waved through and down a driveway where I was completely overwhelmed to be met by a huge crowd of children, families and staff.
“I was so touched to hear that some of the families there have been following my journey – it means so much to have their support as they are the reason I am doing this.
“It was clear that Little Havens is a close team and everyone is passionate about getting the best for the children and their families. I particularly loved hearing how they have adapted their care and service following the pandemic.
“I was even able to try out their specialist two-seater trike with Toby- Jay. It may have been a short ride but I was delighted to try something specially adapted to enable our children to enjoy cycling too.
“I am so grateful to everyone at Little Havens for making me feel so welcome and for all they do every day to support children and families – I didn’t want to leave!”
During the challenge, Francesca will be cycling 3,200 miles, an average of 46 miles per day. More than £50,000 has been raised for Together for Short Lives, the umbrella organisation which represents children’s hospices across the UK. To make a donation, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chatuk
Published 8th August 2022