Local charity, Torbay Holiday Helpers Network (THHN) celebrated its 5th anniversary earlier this year and, since its inception, has given away 439 holidays. THHN provides free, fun filled holidays for families who have seriously ill children, families who are bereaved, having lost a child or parent, and families who have a terminally ill parent.
These holidays are provided largely due to the generosity of local accommodation providers and businesses who offer their facilities and services free of charge. However, the charity also needs to raise funds. These are sometimes needed to help with travel costs and various other extras that the families may need but THHN has big plans for the future and the aim is to build a fully equipped bungalow to cater for people with high level care needs. This will enable the charity to give holidays to families who can’t currently use the accommodation on offer due to the severity of the illness of their loved one.
Fundraising for this huge project takes many forms but the latest development is the THHN Shop in St Marychurch precinct which had its grand opening as part of the St Marychurch Christmas Street Party on Tuesday 16 December.
There to cut the ribbon was THHN Founder and Chairman, Luke Tillen, and the charity’s mascot, Memory Maker Man. Luke said “We had a really wonderful day. This shop is the next step for THHN and, as always with any of our projects, would not have been possible without the support of so many people. The team at THHN are a fantastic bunch and I’m so proud of what’s been achieved. As well as all of our brilliant volunteers I must thank all the local businesses who have come up trumps offering free or discounted services to help with this project, including Swift Carpets and Flooring, who donated all the carpet for the shop and office free of charge, Medworth Plumbing and Heating, Dandy Decorators who donated the paint for the shop and Tactile Timber who carried out all the carpentry work. The shop looks amazing. Really bright and inviting and exactly what I was hoping for.” He added “My thanks go to each and every person who has helped out and to everyone who will hopefully enjoy shopping there in the future. Particular special mention must go to Carolanne Hart who has overseen the whole project and is our Shop Manager. She has worked tirelessly and is a constant source of energy and inspiration.”
Carolanne said “I’m delighted with how the shop looked and so excited by how our opening day went. We received such a lot of great feedback. Everyone seemed to really like the shop and was impressed with the quality of the items that we had for sale. The quantity of donated goods that we’ve received has been overwhelming. People have just been so generous and supportive. We had a raffle and games which raised over £200 and the till was ringing all day. I couldn’t have asked for a better start.”
The shop is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm and Carolanne is now urgently looking for volunteers to join their very friendly team. If you have a few hours to spare and would be interested in helping out please either pop into the shop to see Carolanne, give her a ring on 01803 324542 or e-mail Carolanne@thhn.co.uk
As well as all the excitement of the new shop opening on Tuesday THHN also received a donation of £750 from Babbacombe Model Village from their Wishing Well Fund and Maureen MacDonald from the Rotary Club of Torquay presented a cheque for £150 to buy a very special Christmas present for a very special young lady who will be on a THHN holiday over Christmas.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, some of the team from Palm 105.5FM delivered an amazing selection of 50 Christmas presents for THHN children to enjoy this festive season. The gifts were donated as part of their “Give a Gift” campaign.
Luke said “It’s been a wonderful week and we all feel so positive about the future of THHN as we head into 2015. We’re very lucky as it seems that many people empathise with what we do and want to support our work. We hope to provide many more holidays for these amazing families who are having such a terrible time and do what we can to provide a little bit of respite for them and help them make some holiday memories that they will treasure forever.”
For more information on THHN visit their website at www.thhn.co.uk, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.