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Prince Harry opens up for Ringwood author’s book

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Chris Connaughton with his book, Hospital by the Hill
Chris Connaughton with his book, Hospital by the Hill

PRINCE Harry has penned an emotional foreword to a book by a Ringwood author about a child whose parent dies from Covid-19 while working on the pandemic frontline.

Hospital by the Hill is written by Chris Connaughton who said he was “absolutely thrilled” to have the input from the prince who talked about his own feelings of losing his mother, Princess Diana, at a very young age.

Harry reveals: “When I was a young boy, I lost my mum. At the time I didn’t want to believe it or accept it, and it left a huge hole inside of me.

“I know how you feel, and I want to assure you that over time that hole will be filled with so much love and support.

“We all cope with loss in a different way, but when a parent goes to heaven, I was told their spirit, their love and the memories of them do not. They are always with you and you can hold onto them forever. I find this to be true.”

Prince Harry (picture: Aaron Chown/PA)
Prince Harry (picture: Aaron Chown/PA)

Illustrated by Fay Troote, the book tells the story of a young boy whose mother, a nurse, has died of coronavirus. The idea for it came from Sally Stanley, founder of Hampshire child bereavement charity Simon Says.

Chris said he hoped the book, written in verse, would “provide comfort and some solace” for children in a similar position.

He said he was not “trying to tell anyone how to deal with loss” but instead his aim was “to look as closely as I could at the emotional issues that a child may face.

“For example, at one point the young boy gets very angry and hits out at people around him because he does not how to express his emotions in words.

“There is also the fear that he will forget them. But at the end of the book, he learns from reading messages written by people looked after by his mum.

“He learns that as she did with him, she held them in her arms of love and they, like him, won’t forget her. At the finish he is able to remember her with love and feeling.”

Free copies of the book can be obtained for bereaved youngsters by applying online at www.hospitalbythehill.com where it can also be bought for £25 with profits going to charity.

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