Sara Cox launches bid to build area's first children's hospice in Radcliffe

Bury Times: Sara Cox with Grace Tinarwo at the Grace's Place appeal event Sara Cox with Grace Tinarwo at the Grace's Place appeal event

RADIO presenter Sara Cox has launched a £1 million appeal to complete the building of a children’s hospice in the borough.

Work is now under way to create Grace’s Place, a bright and friendly hospice named after a poorly two-year-old.

Grace’s Place will provide palliative and end-of-life care for children living in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton at the site of the former Bury Hospice in Dumers Lane, Radcliffe.

It will be the 50th children’s hospice in the country, looking after youngsters suffering from cancers, neurological and genetic illnesses and mental and physical disabilities.

Sara, best known for presenting the Radio 1 Breakfast Show, said: “As soon as I heard about this place I had to be involved and I am going to throw myself into helping in any way I can.

“Hopefully this time next year I will be cutting a ribbon at the opening celebration.”

The 38-year-old officially became Grace’s Place patron after her brother, artist Robert Cox, designed artwork for the new state-of-the-art Bury Hospice building, in Rochdale Old Road, Bury, which opened earlier this year.

The new hospice has been named after two-year-old Grace Tinarwo from Kirkholt, Rochdale, who has chromosomal abnormality Patau Syndrome.

Her condition, caused when the body’s cells contain extra genetic material, is so serious that most babies with the condition do not survive birth or only live for a few days.

After cuddling Grace, mum-of-three Sara said: “Who better to name this place after than Grace. She is such a gorgeous little girl.

“The moment one of your kids gets poorly you wish you could put yourself in their place.

“Parents whose children fight genetic conditions, disabilities and life-threatening illnesses must find so much strength every day.”

The new hospice will have four inpatient bedrooms for children and parents to use for planned short-stay and respite care, and one rapid response inpatient bedroom.

There will be two family bedrooms, a family lounge, a large social room, sensory room and hydrotherapy pool shaped like a butterfly.

It is hoped the new hospice will be open by autumn next year and the project needs a further £1 million after securing a Department of Health grant of £507,297 earlier this year.

Jacqui Comber, Bury Hospice chief executive, said there are more than 250 children with life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses in the hospice’s catchment area.

She said: “We are going to be part of something very special and everyone can play a vital role in making a difference to children and their families.

“At the moment, families like Grace’s have to travel to Chorley or south Manchester to receive the specialist support we can offer.”

Grace’s mum, Sarah, said her daughter who has never opened her eyes properly and was born with a cleft lip and palate, had survived against the odds.

She said: “I am proud to know Grace’s name has been put to a place which will help so many children.

“It will be nice for Grace to play here, for us to all take a break and to spend time with other families at a location which is much closer to our home.”

Grace’s dad, Cuthbert, said: “What we have gone through has been so involving and we feel parents out there need the chance to take a break from round-the-clock care.

“I am sure Grace’s Place will be a lifeline for other families like us.”

Grace’s Place will be run as a partnership between Bury Hospice and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust Partnership, which runs mental health and community health services across the borough.

Pennine Care chairman John Schofield said the project was the first time an NHS Trust and a hospice had worked together in this way.

Grace’s Place is being developed by construction company Seddon which has already begun work.

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