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Olympics-themed party for seriously ill children
A HOLIDAY home for seriously-ill children and their families celebrated its first birthday in style with an Olympics- themed party.
The Bluebells, in Popham Lane, North Waltham, has helped dozens of families since opening its doors last summer, and they were invited back for a ‘Bluebellympics’ party where guests were able to take part in a wide range of games and activities inspired by the London Games.
Events, including traditional egg and spoon races, throwing hoops, bubble making, face painting and more, were enjoyed by children with complex medical conditions.
Guests were also able to have a portrait drawn by a caricaturist, sit down for a picnic lunch and every participant received a special message for their achievements. The Bluebells was opened by charity Sebastian’s Action Trust as the UK’s first purpose-built holiday respite house for seriously-ill children and their families.
The home was the brainchild of Jane Gates’ son Sebastian, a brave nine-year-old, from Berkshire, who lost his battle with cancer in 2003. Sebastian dreamt of a place where youngsters like him could get away from the stress of everyday life.
Sebastian’s mum was able to realise her son’s dream after seven-and-a-half years of fundraising and as a result of land being gifted to the charity by farmer Patrick Sweeney.
Jane, director of Sebastian’s Action Trust, said: “The Bluebellympics Party was a great way to celebrate our first year – a year which has surpassed our hopes and expectations. “It was lovely to see the garden filled with children having fun on a sunny day and to see friendships developing between the families we support.”
The Bluebells includes two four-bedroom self-catering apartments which are provided free of charge to families for a week or a few days at a time.
It also has shared leisure facilities geared to enabling children with serious illnesses to enjoy normal activities which they are unable to do in public facilities, including a hydrotherapy pool with special dry suits for children with Hickman lines, a home cinema, a games room, a multi-sensory room, an art room and a well-being treatments room.