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Chestnut Tree House’s 15th Birthday

Thursday 27 December 2018

In 2018, we celebrated Chestnut Tree House’s 15th birthday – 15 years of caring for children and young people with life-shortening conditions, and their families, in East and West Sussex and South East Hampshire.

Our story began in 1999 when it was realised that there was little or no provision for children and young people in Sussex who needed specialist hospice care. The Chestnut Tree Trust was formed and an appeal was launched to build a children’s hospice for Sussex. The local community got behind the project and raised the £5 million needed for us to realise our dream of a purpose-built hospice where children and young people could receive the care they so desperately needed.

In November 2003, HRH Princess Alexandra officially opened Chestnut Tree House. At that time we were caring for just 30 children. Now, 15 years later, the demand for our services has increased dramatically. To meet that demand, we have introduced new services such as our oncology service for children with cancer and our neonatal service for very young babies, and we are caring for children with much more complex needs than ever before. We have introduced our Youth Group and our Saplings Group for under 5s, and expanded our Community Team to provide more care for families in the comfort of their own homes. In our 15th birthday year, we are now helping around 300 children and families.

Over the year, we have enjoyed lots of exciting events and activities, revisited special memories and made lots of new ones. Here are just a few of our 15th birthday celebrations:

15th Birthday Patrons

We welcomed some special 15th birthday Patrons to support our work throughout the year, alongside our existing Patrons, including:
• The Snowman™
• Paralympic equestrian champion Natasha Baker MBE
• Actor and Big Brother 2016 winner Jason Burrill
• Author Julia Donaldson and her husband Dr Malcolm Donaldson
• Singer and songwriter Chesney Hawkes
• East Sussex Ambassadors Jacquie and Barry Hinves
• Model, racing driver and TV presenter Jodie Kidd
• Artist Lester Magoogan
• International polo player and captain of the US polo team Nic Roldan
• Footballer and captain of Brighton & Hove Albion FC Bruno Saltor
• Singer, pianist and songwriter Joe Stilgoe
• Businessman Matt Turner

Since Chestnut Tree House opened

We counted up just how much fantastic support we have had from so very many people over the last 15 years and what a difference that has made to the care we have been able to provide.


Sharing memories

We have talked to some of the staff and volunteers who have been with us for the whole 15 year journey and captured some of their memories including:








15th birthday videos

We made some lovely films, talking to some special people who were involved right at the beginning of the Chestnut Tree House story including; Monica Ridley, Ann Cooke, Lesley-Anne Lloyd and Sarah Jouaut. We also had some fantastic birthday messages from lots of special supporters, including some celebrities.

You can view all our 15th birthday videos here

New challenges

We challenged people of all ages across Sussex and South East Hampshire to take on a challenge to mark the occasion. Many people took us up on a couple of really special ones including our Arundel Castle Abseil, our 15th birthday Littlehampton 10k Run and our first ever Night iDrop at the i360 in Brighton.

Arundel Castle Abseil_abseilers

Garden celebrations

We planted daffodils in the shape of the number 15 for children, families, staff and volunteers to enjoy.

15th birthday daffodils planted at Chestnut Tree House

New mascot

We introduced Sidney, our Squirrel Mascot.

Sidney Squirrel mascot


Thank you!

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us over the last 15 years. You are amazing and your help and generosity has meant that we can care for so many children, young people and families across Sussex and South East Hampshire who need the care only Chestnut Tree House can provide.