Torbay Holiday Helpers Network Holiday Relaxation

Holidays are meant to be a time to relax and get away from the worries of everyday life.  For Louise and Richard Dicks, and their daughter Ella, the week they just spent on a Torbay Holiday Helpers Network (THHN) holiday did just that.  Three year old Ella has a rare genetic condition which means that her life is restricted by severe epilepsy and she requires significant care 24 hours a day.  Whilst Ella is a happy little girl who tries her utmost to cope with the pressure she faces, needless to say, life for Ella, Richard and Louise is a struggle and both parents suffer from feelings of isolation and exhaustion.

Jayne, the family’s support worker at the Rainbow Trust charity, suggested the THHN holiday to Louise and Richard and it turns out to have been a wonderful idea.  Louise said “We had an absolutely lovely time. We stayed at the Hotel De La Mer and Luke Tillen and his family could not have been nicer.  It is very hard to accept help, even though we are in a difficult situation, but everyone we came across was so welcoming and behaved as though it was no trouble at all which made us feel so much better. The holiday really did give us some quality time with Ella away from the daily grind.  Simple things like not having to cook and wash up meant that we were free to just enjoy each other’s company.  Over the week we had three days of glorious sunshine which meant we were able to take Ella on the beach for the first time, sit in the park and go for some wonderful walks.  It really was a wonderful change of scene for all of us.”  Louise added “As well as Luke and the charity generally, we would particularly like to thank Angel’s Tea Rooms for a delightful cream tea, Hanbury’s Fish Restaurant for our amazing fish and chips and the Cliff Railway Café for some tasty sandwiches.”

Luke, Louise, Richard and Ella

THHN Founder and Chairman, Luke Tillen, said “Louise, Richard and Ella are a lovely family and we were only too pleased to welcome them to the hotel.  However, they are an example of a family who I feel would have been better accommodated in the new bungalow we’re working towards.  Of course, they didn’t complain in the least, but they did struggle a bit using the shower and the bungalow we’re planning will be fully equipped making holidays for families with special care needs just that little bit easier.”  The charity’s aim is to provide a bungalow somewhere on the English Riviera which is a facility that would enable those families unable to holiday in regular accommodation the opportunity for a little respite in a wonderful location.  Whilst this is obviously a long-term fundraising project Luke is determined to see it through and provide this extra much-needed accommodation.  For more information about the THHN and the plans for a new special care bungalow visit