Clarence House visit for Roald Dahl Nurse

12/12/2018

A nurse at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children has attended a Christmas event at Clarence House as a special guest of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Nurse Jennifer Anderson, a Paediatric Neurodisability Specialist, is Northern Ireland’s only Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity Nurse, and along with other Roald Dahl Nurses and children from across the United Kingdom, she helped to decorate the Royal Christmas tree.

She was joined by 10-years-old Daire, who became a patient at the age of two when he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and fluid on the brain. Daire had surgery lasting 13 hours to remove the tumour. Unfortunately, despite initial recovery, Daire’s condition deteriorated in 2016 and he is now paralysed in a leg and arm. He continues to receive specialist care at our Children’s Hospital.

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity was created 25 years ago to work directly with children like Daire, giving them support both at home and in hospital.

Roald Dahl nurses like Jennifer work to ensure that every child receives consistent quality of care regardless of their medical condition.

Jennifer Anderson was appointed as Northern Ireland’s first Roald Dahl Nurse 18 months ago. She provides treatment and support for children and young people with serious and complex neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy and those with brain and spinal injuries.

Jennifer, who has been a nurse for 36 years said: “I work with a small but extremely dedicated team who provide an inspiring service to these children, young people and their families which makes such an obvious difference to their lives and it is a privilege to be part of it. I am grateful to the charity for this opportunity and their continued enthusiasm and support of me personally in this post.”

Jennifer and Daire who was accompanied by his father were treated to a special suite in the Dorchester Hotel which was a gift to the charity. After staying there, they spent two hours at Clarence House with the Duchess of Cornwall.

“We were greeted by the Duchess in a huge room and she approached us and said hello. She bent down and spoke to Daire about his trip to London. Then two huge doors opened to show another very large room and we were greeted by a guard dressed in red with a huge bearskin hat. He entertained the children by doing tricks with Christmas decorations and they all loved it!” said Jennifer.
“Then we were all given decorations so we could help with the tree. Some of them were miniature gold framed mirrors, and some were green and red trees. They were very ornate and looked absolutely fabulous. Daire and I both helped decorate the tree before another set of huge doors opened into another room and the children were treated to a long table full of Christmas food,” she said.

“The Duchess then proceeded to personally serve the children with little bowls of mashed potato and sausage in the shape of a smiley face which the children absolutely loved. Shortly after that, she then gave all of the children little hessian gift bags full of Christmas treats,” said the paediatric nurse.

“We thought that would be the end of the day but there was another surprise in store. The Duchess took all of the children outside to see two beautifully groomed reindeers and the children became very excited. She then invited Daire to go and feed one of them. She put the carrot in his hand, and then lifted his arm up to help him feed the reindeer. It really was a great end to such a fantastic day”.

Photos courtesy of Ian Jones