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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2006, 18:31 GMT
Charles opens children's hospice
Hospice arts and crafts room (pic supplied by Shooting Star Hospice)
A arts and crafts room is among the facilities at the hospice
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have officially opened a 6.5m hospice for children.

Shooting Star House in Hampton, south-west London, has 10 children's bedrooms and six rooms for parents, and offer families a "home from home".

The Royal couple met patients and staff on a tour of the hospice, which will cost 2.5m a year to run.

Across the UK there is only one hospice bed for every six children in need of specialist care.

Shooting Star House boasts facilities such as a multi-sensory room, hydrotherapy pool and spa, and a "sparkle play room".

'Remarkable achievement'

Five-year-old Jordan Barfoot, who has severe mobility and speech problems, was the first to stay at the hospice when it opened in August.

Her mother Tina said it would make a real difference to their lives.

She said: "We have had no previous help looking after Jordan and the hospice will allow us to spend quality time together as a family and give other parents a break from the constant demands of everyday care."

It seems so important that the carers are cared for as well and that's one of the great things about this hospice
Prince Charles

Prince Charles said the centre was a "remarkable achievement".

"It makes it possible for the parents of children to be able to bring them here and for an enormous difference to be made to their lives," he said.

"It seems so important that the carers are cared for as well and that's one of the great things about this hospice."

He added that as patron of nine hospices he knew about the challenges of finding cash to run them and he praised the "enthusiasm and dedication" of its supporters.

It received a surprise boost recently when Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and his wife Jackie won 500,000 on a special Valentine's Day broadcast of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?.

Other celebrity patrons include Sir Trevor McDonald, Sir Cliff Richard, Joan Collins and Richard E Grant.

There are 38 children's hospices in the UK, with five more planned.

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