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Coronavirus doesn’t stop children’s hospice honouring decades old tradition

A dozen red roses were given to a children’s hospice by an 11-year-old from Chichester.


Joshua Lo who regularly stays at Naomi House for respite care, honoured a delightful decades-old tradition by paying the hospice’s rent of 12 red roses.


Every year, Naomi House & Jacksplace pays its rent of 12 red roses on or around Midsummer’s Day. This tradition dates back nearly a quarter of a century, to when Mary Cornelius-Reid kindly allowed a hospice to be built on her land in the Sutton Manor Estate.


This offer came with two conditions; that the hospice be named after her youngest daughter, Naomi, and that each and every Midsummer’s Day, the hospice pay a peppercorn rent of a dozen red roses. Although Mary passed away in 2014, staff still honour the tradition by presenting a bouquet of flowers to Naomi.


Children staying at the hospices, along with nursing staff and the hospice chief executive, Mark Smith, made the short walk across Sutton Manor Estate to deliver the flowers personally to the care team at the prestigious Sutton Manor Nursing Home.


Kamala Limbu, matron and registered home manager was joined by an army of staff from the home to accept the roses on Naomi’s behalf.


Naomi Cornelius-Reid collected the flowers later in the day and said: “While it has been a crazy year, it is absolutely indicative of Naomi House that they would remember and find a way to get the roses to us. It is such a precious tradition.


“I only hope people can remember how much their support is needed and continue to help them so they can keep doing the amazing work that they do. Thank you from me and my family, thank you for keeping the tradition going and long live Naomi House.”


Mark said: “Mary Cornelius-Reid started this really lovely tradition by offering us the land on which Naomi House is built, and while things may have looked a little different due to Coronavirus restrictions, we were pleased as always to present our very special rent. We thank the Cornelius-Reid family for their ongoing support.”


Naomi House & Jacksplace provide respite, end of life and post bereavement care to hundreds of life limited and life threatened children, young adults and their families from across central southern England. Throughout the Covid-19 crisis the charity has taken in patients from neighbouring hospitals to support the NHS during the Coronavirus peak, and has recently returned to providing paediatric and young adult services from the hospice buildings, near Winchester.


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