Children present ideas for grounds of Alexander Devine Children's Hospice

Children present ideas for grounds of Alexander Devine Children's Hospice

Hannah Crouch

Children present ideas for grounds of Alexander Devine Children's Hospice

A treehouse and pets corner are among the ideas three children have had for the grounds of the Devine children’s hospice.

Angus O’Neill and Fiona Devine go through plans for the garden with Harry Devine, 11, Adam Dew, six, and Caitlin Devine, 12.


Harry and Caitlin Devine, who are the children of Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service founders Fiona and John Devine, and siblings of Alexander who inspired the charity, made their own drawings of features they would like to see in the garden.

They were joined by Adam Dew, whose brother Matthew is cared for by the charity, at its offices in Waltham Road, White Waltham, to discuss their ideas.

Six-year-old Adam thought of a treehouse which included a zip wire, foam pit and vibration pads.

He said he liked having his ideas included in the design process, adding he will feel ‘really happy’ when he sees the finished treehouse.

A pets corner is something 12-year-old Caitlin wanted to see.

Possible animals there could include guinea pigs and goats, and Fiona said it would be a first for a children’s hospice.

For 11-year-old Harry, it was all about having as much sport as possible.

The children presented their ideas to architect Angus O’Neill, who said they were ‘brilliant’.

“For these children it is their dreams coming true,” he added.

“The garden will bring everything to life and is crucial as it brings the building together.”

Their involvement with the design process is important to the hospice.

“With a project of this scale, it is easy to get carried away with reports and structure,” Fiona said. “We wanted to take it back to its origin and that is the children.

“It is going to be a big family home.

“They had quite clear ideas from the word go and their needs were clear.

“It is going to be accessible for the children in our care and their siblings.

“There will be plenty of shared activities.”

In order for the treehouse and the whole outside area to come to life, the hospice needs more funding and is appealing to the public for help.

“We need help with funding for the garden and landscaping the area,” Fiona added.

“So if anybody out there wants to help, please get in touch.”

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