03:30PM, Thursday 25 January 2018
As the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice begins to look more like home, a puppy called Sebby has joined the ranks.
The £6.8m hospice in Woodlands Park, the first children's hospice in Berkshire, should be ready to welcome children in the spring.
As well as a hydrotherapy pool, a sensory room, six child bedrooms and two adult suites, a Maltese poodle mix trainee pet therapy dog has joined the team.
“Some time ago we invited some children in and asked them what they would like in the garden,” said charity founder Fiona Devine.
“And getting animals was in line with their wishes.”
Rabbits and guinea pigs will join the line-up in time.
The charity was set up by Fiona and John Devine in 2007, a year after their eight-year-old son Alexander died from a rare brain tumour.
“Sometimes I still pinch myself when I think we have come this far,” said Fiona.
“I just can’t wait to get the doors open for the children and make this a reality by the spring.
“It is really starting to take shape. We have got the parents’ accommodation done and the pool has been filled.
“It is really looking like home now.”
Next, the charity needs to be officially registered and to recruit a nursing team.
Fiona added: “We are still working very hard and we want to thank everyone for their support.
“We need to keep fund-raising and working hard on that.”
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