A charity's nine-year-long "dream" of opening a dedicated children's hospice in Dorset becomes a reality on Thursday as Julia's House opens its doors.
The new hospice was once a family home
The hospice, in Corfe Mullen, was once a family home but will now be a place for up to 10 very ill children to rest and play during the day.
It will also offer an overnight respite service for three children.
Julia's House already runs a community team, which travels the county providing home care for 50 children.
The charity, which receives no government funding, was set up in memory of Julia Perks, a nurse who died of cancer in 1997.
She was committed to providing ill children with care and also to raising awareness of the need for respite care for families.
The charity's work in the community began in 2003.
Martin Edwards, chief executive for Julia's House, said: "Dorset hasn't had a children's hospice up to now.
"It's one of the few counties in England that didn't and it's about time somebody did something about it.
"So after many years of fundraising we finally now open the children's hospice and we are going to be able to look after some of the children in Dorset who most need our care."