Richard House Children's Hospice sensory garden equipment stolen

apple shaped chair

This apple shaped chair was among items stolen from a sensory garden at Richard House Children's Hospice. - Credit: Hope Lanek

Thieves have snatched garden equipment donated to a hospice for seriously ill children.

A swing chair, canoe and lobster pot are among items stolen from Richard House Children's Hospice in Beckton.

The equipment was part of the Let’s Explore Sensory Garden opened by Downton Abbey stars Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton, who is set to play Elizabeth II in series five of The Crown.

Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton at Richard House Children's Hospice

Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton opened the garden at Richard House Children's Hospice in 2019. - Credit: Hope Lanek

Chris Baker, chief executive at the hospice, said: "Richard House is a sanctuary where our children and families can create lasting memories.

"The sensory elements that offer life-limited children a connection to the world around them have been stolen.

"Children with complex conditions would not normally have access to these everyday experiences and therefore these items really do mean the world to them.

"We are looking into this as a matter of urgency."

sensory garden

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

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police confirmed the service had received an allegation of theft from the charity in Richard House Drive.

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"A number of items are reported to have been taken from a garden over the days prior to the report," he said.

However, the case has been closed pending any further information, and staff have been informed.

"Should any new information come to light it will be assessed accordingly," the spokesperson added.

Richard House staff provide palliative clinical care, short breaks and residential services to youngsters while supporting families through counselling, therapy and bereavement support.

A gift from Kate Gould's award-winning garden at the Royal Horticultural Society's 2019 Chelsea Flower Show, the swing chair provided a stimulus for life-limited children.

The canoe and lobster pot were part of a beach-themed section of the garden designed because many of the children and families who visit Richard House are unable to visit the seaside because of their illnesses.

The Let’s Explore Sensory Garden is supported by the Greenfingers Charity and reinsurance broker Capsicum Re. It was designed by Andrew Fisher Tomlin and Dan Bowyer.

Richard House relies heavily on the generosity of donors to carry out its work for seriously ill children and their families. It described the sensory elements of the garden, which were reported as stolen on April 23, as "vital".