Charity a step nearer dream holiday home

TEN years after Ged and Julie Hoburn lost their daughter to cancer, the charity they set up in her memory is almost ready to start making a difference to other north east families.

Sara’s Hope Foundation was formed in 2007 in memory of 16-year-old Sara Hoburn, who died of a rare form of colon cancer.

The charity’s aim was build a respite home on the island of Crete to allow families who are going through the same experiences the Hoburn’s went through with Sara to visit, allowing them to have some quality time away from the hospital wards, and hopefully creating some special memories.

And come spring 2011, the first family is set to benefit from the year’s of hard work and fundraising after a suitable location for the holiday home became available sooner than expected.

Ged, founder of the charity, said: “In recent months the charity identified a potential site for the retreat that well lives up to its vision, and is within close proximity to a modern hospital providing specialist care for children with cancer.

“The family who currently own the villas were touched by the charity after losing their own son, and have given us the opportunity to fly out the first family much earlier than we had ever imagined in our wildest dreams.”

Now the charity’s UK lawyers are liaising with legal representatives in Crete and finalising the contracts.

And the retreat will be available to the foundation from April, with the first family welcomed in May.

The profile of Sara’s Hope Foundation has been raised over the past few years through the support of local people, as well as patrons Coleen Nolan, her husband Ray Fensome, Amanda Lamb, Antony Costa, Jonathan Wilkes, musician Bill Nelson and actor Ryan Philpott, who are ensuring the charity is becoming well known nationally.

The foundation has been developing links with the RVI’s children and teenager cancer units, and over the last three years it has asked the youngsters to come up with a wish list for the villa.

But now the charity only has a short time to find the requested items and organisers are appealing for individuals or companies to help by donating or sponsoring any of the following: televisions, home cinema kit, DVD player/recorder, PC, laptop, printer, games consoles and games, digital camera and camcorder (to record memories during the families stay) music system, DVDs and CDs, baby toys, outdoor toys, puzzles, games, books and lots more.

They are also looking for a sponsor to fund the leasing / purchase of a people carrier to transport the family on the island.

Ged said: “We are dedicated to giving a personal service to each child or young person and their family, and in memory of Sara, giving them ‘smiles, hope and precious memories’.

“Opening the retreat is only the start of the challenge and we need to raise a substantial amount of funds to make this a success.

“We are asking individuals to continue supporting us in ways such as organising fundraising events, taking part in sponsored events, nominating us at their place of work or by signing up to our monthly donation scheme.”

If anyone can help they are asked to contact Ged on 07816 315833 or e-mail sarashopefoundation@gmail.com