TV presenter and hospice patron Dermot O’Leary visited St Helena in Essex on one of the stops of his Toto the Ninja Cat book tour, to meet children, patients and their families.
St Helena invited members of its Starbursts support group, a monthly drop-in bereavement group which is run for children who have lost a parent or grandparent and their families, to attend a reading by hospice patron Dermot of his children’s book Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape.
The families spent an hour meeting, chatting and having their photos taken with Dermot, who kindly gave signed copies of the book to all the children supported by Starbursts.
Afterwards he was given a tour of the hospice by matron Sue O’Neill, meeting patients and their families, and the hospice’s resident cat Paddy. The catering team at St Helena provided refreshments and baked a special cake for Dermot decorated with an image of Toto the Ninja Cat.
The presenter and author said:
“As a local boy, being back in my home town of Colchester, it was great to visit St Helena, support the great work of the hospice and to meet the wonderful families supported by Starbursts.
“The children were full of energy and were a joy to chat to! As a big cat lover, it was also lovely to have a cuddle with the hospice’s cat, Paddy.”
Sophie-Leigh Brunton, who attends Starbursts, said:
“I was chatting to Dermot about the challenges and events I’m doing this year for St Helena and trying to get him to do Walk of Memories in Mersea too!
“He got along with the children so well, he was very interactive. It has been really nice meeting him today – really special – and great memories to take away.”
Cherie Smith, St Helena’s Family Support Lead, added:
“We would like to say a big thank you to Dermot for visiting us and making some happy memories for the children and families we support through Starbursts.
“We all really enjoyed having him with us, hearing about his book and sharing cake with him. It was so kind and generous of him to give all our Starburst families signed copies of his book too.”
For more information visit St Helena