SARAH Ferguson, Duchess of York, has become a patron of Julia's House, the Dorset and Wiltshire children's hospice charity.

Julia's House currently cares for more than 160 families across Dorset and Wiltshire.

The charity has two hospices, one of them situated at Corfe Mullen, Poole.

Sarah Ferguson pledged here support following a recent visit to the charity''s Wiltshire hospice.

She said: "I am delighted and privileged to accept the offer of a patronage of Julia’s House.

"I was so taken by the charity when I visited. It is a place of unity providing harmony and happiness.

"When I walked in, I immediately felt embraced, that everything was okay and that I was able to just be with the children, which was a real luxury.

"It is such a good place where children are able to be themselves. Not to be judged, just to be."

The duchess joins other Julia’s House Patrons including Martin Clunes, Guy and Jacqui Ritchie, Eddie Howe, Harry Redknapp, Jasper Conran, Trudie Styler, Rupert Everett, Nigel Havers and, most recently, musician James McVey.

Julia's House chief executive Martin Edwards said: "We are thrilled that the Duchess of York has agreed to become a patron.

"I have rarely seen somebody understand so quickly the nature of what we do and immediately embrace our ethos in such a warm, genuine and generous way.

"It was such a joy to see. We are very much looking forward to involving the duchess in our future plans."