Beckton children’s hospice given £5k to replace stolen garden equipment

Richard House and National Grid donation

Pip Meares and Nadia Dew from National Grid and Charlie Grey and Chris Williams from Richard House - Credit: Jason Alden Photography

A Beckton children’s hospice has received £5,000 to cover the cost of stolen play equipment after featuring in the Recorder.

In July last year, a swing chair, canoe and lobster pot were taken from Richard House Children's Hospice.

The apple-shaped swing chair had been a gift from Kate Gould's award-winning garden at the Royal Horticultural Society's 2019 Chelsea Flower Show. 

sensory garden

A swing chair, canoe and lobster pot are among items stolen from the hospice which is based in Beckton. - Credit: Hope Lanek

It was a “one-of-a-kind item,” according to head of major gifts and communications at Richard House, Lizzi Hollis. 

She said: “The pandemic has hit Richard House hard and the past 12 months have been particularly challenging, as emergency support is no longer available.

"This has left us with a £500,000 shortfall and at risk of having to cut services." 

In November 2021, following an article on the theft in this newspaper, National Grid donated £5,000 to support the hospice.

Lizzi said: “Donations like this ensure we are able to continue to deliver vital services to over 300 families in east London and beyond who are in desperate need of our support.” 

Richard House Children's Hospice sensory garden

The sensory garden at Richard House Children's Hospice - Credit: Jason Alden Photography

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Richard House Children’s Hospice provides palliative care to children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. 

The items were stolen from Richard House’s woodland sensory garden: a one-acre fullly accessible space for seriously ill children and their families to explore nature safely.

“Many of the children we work with struggle to communicate their feelings due to their conditions," Lizzi added. "Being given the opportunity to explore nature through their senses provides a sanctuary for rest and respite.” 

Thieves also took lobster pots and a canoe from the beach area of the garden.  

Lizzi said: “This area was thoughtfully designed because many of the families who use Richard House are prohibited from visiting the seaside due to their illnesses and financial circumstances. 

“Those who committed the crime were never found and so it is still unresolved. If anyone has any information about the theft, they should contact the Metropolitan Police. 

“If any readers of the Newham Recorder want to follow in the footsteps of National Grid, they can do so by supporting our Urgent Winter Appeal”.