The family of a little boy who died from a rare organ condition has paid a visit to the sunflower that the Duchess of Cambridge promised to plant in his honour.
In June Kate Middleton, 38, spoke to Stuie Delf, 13, from Huntingdon, whose adored brother Fraser lost his battle against Coats plus syndrome – a rare condition that affects multiple organs and causes brain abnormalities – in January aged just nine.
On a video call to Stuie and his parents Carla and Stuart, for which the Duchess of Cornwall also dialled in, the Duchess pledged to plant a sunflower in memory of brave Fraser, who was cared for at East Anglia Children’s Hospices (EACH) in Milton shortly before he died.
Not long after the call, Kate visited EACH’s The Nook, a hospice in Norfolk which she officially opened in November, where she helped plant a sensory garden.
There she planted a sunflower which was moved to the hospice in Cambridgeshire where Fraser spent the last few weeks of his life.
Yesterday the EACH Instagram account shared a photo of the family visiting the flower, now in full bloom.
The caption read: ‘The Duchess promised to arrange the tribute in memory of Fraser, who died in January of Coats plus syndrome, during a video call with his mum Carla, dad Stuart and 13-year-old brother Stuie for Children’s Hospice Week.
‘She delivered on that promise days later, when she joined staff and volunteers at The Nook to create a sensory garden.
‘The sunflower has since been moved to our hospice in Milton, where Fraser spent the last few weeks of his life.
‘The family saw the sunflower in its new home for the first time last Friday (31st), choosing to wearing pink – a colour Fraser loved.
‘Mum Carla said: “The sunflower looks so bright and beautiful, just like Fraser. The centre looks like a heart shape, just perfect.
‘I recently saw a poem that said sunflowers choose to live their brightest lives as they know they won’t be around for long and that really fits with Fraser.”‘
Inspired by legendary 100-year-old fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore, Stuie vowed to undertake a sponsored five kilometres run every day during lockdown in May to raise funds for the EACH site in Milton, which has seen a dramatic drop in funding due to the pandemic.
Stuie, who was cheered on by neighbours, had initially aimed to raise £500 to fill the gap and thank staff for the cherished memories of the time he spent there with his family but ended up exceeding all expectations.
His JustGiving page shows he’s managed to raise an impressive £16,615 – and the Duchess branded his fundraising ‘amazing’.
Stuie told Kate during the call: ‘Fraser wasn’t just my brother, he was my best friend.’
Camilla added: ‘Captain Tom has done a lot for this country, hasn’t he? He’s inspired so many people.
‘You must be very fit, Stuie.’
The two women talked to him and his parents about the seven weeks they spent living in the hospice with Fraser before he died.
Fraser, a cheeky and loving boy, had been ill since he was born but deteriorated badly in his final year.
Carla, 37, told the two Duchesses about the kindness and dedication of staff at the hospice, who even got a vicar in and arranged for her and Stuart to renew their wedding vows to please Fraser, who had never understood why he was not in their wedding pictures.
‘They are just such amazing people, they really are,’ she said.
‘The care was amazing, not just towards Fraser making sure he was comfortable, but our wellbeing was met.’
The sunflower has been adopted as the emblem of hospice care, a symbol of joy with the seeds representing patients and the surrounding petals love, care, and compassion.
Kate, who became patron of EACH in 2012, described the work of children’s hospices as ‘extraordinary’.
She added: ‘It’s a credit to the staff that they can provide the environment, the nurturing space for those families to help them go through long or short term care. It’s really awe-inspiring.’
Camilla said: ‘We’d like to thank everybody that works for hospices across the UK for the incredible job you do and allowing families to treasure their moments together.’