Duchess of Cambridge records video message for hospices
The Duchess of Cambridge has made her first video message, in support of Children's Hospice Week.
In the two-minute appeal, Catherine - who is Royal Patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices - said she had seen first-hand the "transformational" work done for children and their families.
"Children's Hospice Week is a time to recognise, celebrate and support the inspirational work of those hospices."
The week's organisers said they were delighted by the duchess' support.
The duchess' message continues: "Children's hospices provide lifelines to families at a time of unimaginable pain. The support they give is vital.
"In order to carry out this wonderful work, our help is needed.
"With our support, those providing children's palliative care can continue to offer these extraordinary services. It does not bear thinking about, what these families would do without this."
'A real boost'
Barbara Gelb, chief executive of Together for Short Lives - which organises the annual week-long event - said she was "very excited" about the Duchess of Cambridge's support.
"I know this extraordinary backing will mean so much to all the UK's 49,000 children with palliative care needs and their families and will really help raise awareness of what these families need, today and in the future.
"The duchess's message will be a real boost to children's hospices and all the charities that deliver vital health and social care to these families."
The video was recorded at Clarence House and shows the duchess speaking directly to camera.
"There are 49 children's hospice services across the UK, all providing similar, invaluable and life enhancing care to thousands of families," she says in it.
East Anglia's Children's Hospices (Each) is one of several charities of which the Duchess of Cambridge is a patron, and the video includes clips of her on visits to its hospices.
Graham Butland, its chief executive, said the duchess' support had provided Each with "many great benefits including raising awareness and understanding of our services, boosting our media profile and inspiring the local community to pledge their support".
"It's wonderful to know other children's hospices across the UK will be able to benefit from such great support too," he said.
An Each spokesman said the duchess's message was not related to specific fundraising projects and stressed the royal was encouraging people to pledge support for local hospice services.
He said money raised for hospices were used to provide care staff in family homes and hospices.
Children's Hospice Week runs from 26 April to 3 May.