A Million Pound Challenge

Local charity, Torbay Holiday Helpers Network (THHN) gives free holidays to families who have seriously ill and bereaved children, recently bereaved families, couples who have lost a child and to families who have a terminally ill parent.  It has been up and running for nearly five years, in which time the charity has provided nearly 400 holidays to those in need of a break.  However, the charity is not currently able to provide holidays for families who have high level care needs. While the accommodation on offer through the network is fantastic it simply doesn’t provide the extra facilities that such families need. Because of this founder and Chairman, Luke Tillen, decided that a dedicated bungalow was the next step for the charity so that these families could also be offered some time away from home in a beautiful location.

It is estimated that the cost of the land, building the bungalow and all associated bits and pieces will be around £1,000,000.  It is, therefore, a long-term fundraising project. Fundraising Manager, Brian Lewis, said “We are aware that this is a goal that may take a significant amount of time to reach.  We’re doing as much fundraising as we can and would be delighted to hear from anyone who might be able to help us.”  The location of the bungalow has yet to be decided on.  It may be built on a piece of land or possibly a bungalow that already exists could be converted to suit.  Brian added “Just knowing how much these holidays mean to the families, is why we know that getting the fully adapted bungalow built is the right thing to do.  We’re very open to the location of the bungalow and any suggestions or ideas are always very welcome.”

As part of this long-term fundraising Luke himself is in the throes of training for a gruelling 100-mile run along the Thames path from London to Oxford on 3 May.  Brian said “Luke is the Chairman of the charity but does not sit back and expect others to do all the work. He very much leads from the front and his latest challenge is an example of that.”  As well as running the charity, Luke also runs the Hotel De La Mer in Babbacombe and so fitting in training with all of that, as well as having four young boys, is a challenge in itself. Training is quite often very late at night or in the early hours of the morning, when his 4 boys are asleep in bed.

Luke Tillen

Luke said of his training schedule “It is the hardest I have ever trained for an event and I am determined to finish in under 24 hours. It has been a real juggling act fitting everything in and quite often I have incorporated my children into my training by taking them out in shifts in my double running pram, if daytime training has been unavoidable. Thankfully they absolutely love it!”  Luke has a Just Giving page for anyone who may be able to sponsor this run at www.justgiving.com/Luke-Tillen1 and assures us that every little helps.  All donations are very much appreciated.