Tony Hudgell’s mother: Telling children about cancer diagnosis is hardest part

The mother of Tony Hudgell has sent her love to the Princess of Wales, describing telling children about a cancer diagnosis as “the hardest part”.

Paula Hudgell expressed solidarity with Kate, describing how she faced a similar challenge two years ago when she was told she had bowel cancer.

Mrs Hudgell and her adoptive son Tony last met Kate on a visit to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital in Lambeth, central London, in December.

The nine-year-old, now a well-known fundraiser, was 41 days old when he was assaulted by his birth parents, in an attack which caused multiple fractures, dislocations and blunt trauma to the face, leading to organ failure, toxic shock and sepsis.

He has received specialist and life-saving treatment at the children’s hospital since he was a baby.

Mrs Hudgell said she will tell Tony about Kate’s news when he is well enough, following another recent operation he had.

Paula Hudgel was honoured by the Prince of Wales last year (Yui Mok/PA)
Paula Hudgell was honoured by the Prince of Wales last year (Yui Mok/PA)

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mrs Hudgell said: “We send all our love and prayers (to Kate) and I just think their privacy now needs to be adhered to because there is nothing more important than your family and trying to come to terms with it.

“I know only too well having been diagnosed with bowel cancer two years ago.

“That was the hardest part of it, telling your children that you have cancer. It’s just the fear of not being there for your children.”

Royal visit to Evelina London
The Princess of Wales is Tony Hudgell’s ‘number one supporter’ (Ian Vogler/PA)

Asked what her message to Kate was, she said: “Take each day as it comes. It will be a rollercoaster especially with the chemotherapy.

“She just needs that privacy now. We just send our utmost love and prayers to her.”

During her visit to the Evelina, of which she is patron, in December, Kate had sympathised with patients as she officially opened a children’s surgery unit.

Tony, who counts Kate as a “number one supporter”, became the youngest person to feature in the New Year Honours when he was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the prevention of child abuse.

Mrs Hudgell became an OBE in 2022 after campaigning for tougher sentences for child abusers.