WIRRAL'S renowned Claire House Children's Hospice has been rated "outstanding" by care watchdogs.

The Care Quality Commission gave the hospice its highest possible rating after an unannounced inspection in June.

The world-famous centre was inspired by Claire Cain, who died from cancer in July 1989, just a couple of weeks before her tenth birthday.

A major fundraising campaign was launched by her family in her memory and - with the help of Globe readers who donated tens of thousands of pounds - Claire House was opened in December 1998 - "the dream became a reality."

Jan Sutherland Oaks, director of clinical services at Claire House, told the Globe today:  "We are extremely proud to have been awarded 'outstanding' by the Care Quality Commission.

"This is testament not only to the fantastic work of our dedicated team of nurses, care workers and support staff, but also to our wonderful supporters, whose donations mean we can provide the very best care to children who aren’t expected to live to be adults."

Wirral Globe:

Pictured. left to right, are Claire House staff Lesley Fellows, Jan Sutherland-Oakes (director of clinical nursing) and Lesa Chappell. Picture: Paul Heaps

The Clatterbridge-based hospice provides care for babies, children, and young people up to the age of 23, with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions.

It opened in 1998, with every single brick paid for by the public.

In 2006, it added a £2m extension so could also offer care to teenagers and young adults - again all paid for through fundraising.

Wirral Globe:

Montage of Globe pictures taken at Claire House over the years. Compiled by Paul Heaps

In the entrance of Claire House is a photograph of the bubbly little girl from Wallasey, smiling cheekily for the camera.

There is also a brass plaque dedicated to her on the wall, too, which was designed by brother Kevin and sisters Tracey and Jennifer.

Claire fell ill in 1987 and doctors discovered she had a malignant tumour behind her nose and eye.

She underwent months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, losing the sight in one eye, her hair and most of her teeth - but still managed to smile and laugh.

A year later, the tumour was found to have grown and she began a new type of chemotherapy, which was hard for Claire and her family, but still she kept on smiling.

Wirral Globe:

Montage of Globe pictures taken at Claire House over the years. Compiled by Paul Heaps

In its report, the CQC said: "People receive outstanding care from exceptional staff who are compassionate, understanding, enabling and who have distinctive skills in this aspect of care.

"Staff also care for and support the people that matter to the person who is dying with empathy and understanding.

"We found that every effort was made to ensure that children and young people were kept safe when receiving services from Claire House. "