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Charity appeal to buy holiday haven in Newark for families hit by illness


By Rachel Armitage


A charity is looking for help to buy a holiday haven near Newark, for families hit by devastating illness, in time for Christmas.

Founded by disabled woman Maria Hanson in 2006, me&dee has provided thousands of treats and more than 1,000 holidays or short breaks in the Midlands for terminally-ill children and adults.

But because some families have so little time left to create final lasting memories, and can find travel exhausting, Maria has decided her charity needs a holiday home near Newark, where many of its families live.

Mee&Dee's Mark Harrison, Maria Hanson, Kevin Moody and Lynne Moody. (15323825)
Mee&Dee's Mark Harrison, Maria Hanson, Kevin Moody and Lynne Moody. (15323825)

She said: “The east coast may not seem that far away but it’s a 200-mile round trip from this area, which is where most of the families we help come from, and it takes around five hours to get there and back. When you are very poorly that can be too much.

“We are keeping our two holiday caravans in Mablethorpe but want to offer families a short break on their doorstep ­— and we have found the perfect place, an amazing new three-bedroomed luxury holiday home at Sherwood Hideaway at Thoresby.

“We just need everyone to get behind me&dee to help raise the £150,000 we need to buy it. We are calling our fundraising project the 20/20 Vision but it would be a dream come true for me if we could buy the lodge in time for Christmas ­— and arrange for a family to enjoy their last festive break together there.

The Sherwood Hideaway log cabin mee&dee needs help to buy. (15323823)
The Sherwood Hideaway log cabin mee&dee needs help to buy. (15323823)

“The lodge is absolutely incredible ­— perfect for our families. It’s so peaceful in the forest, a lovely place for families to relax and have fun together away from hospital wards and medical equipment.

“It’s very important to me that everything is as special as possible for the people we support.

“They are often in a great deal of pain and our holiday homes must have a high level of quality and comfort. The lodge has a hot tub, which could be so soothing for them.

“Most of the families we help have a member in palliative care. It’s their last holiday together. Increasingly, we are being asked to provide short breaks as time is so limited so families need to be able to reach a hospital or hospice quickly.

“Having a holiday home closer to home will make all the difference.”

In a bid to raise the £150,000 needed, me&dee has launched a web page where people can buy a section of the lodge for £50, £100 or £200. Maria is also hoping businesses and individuals will support me&dee’s 20/20 Vision.

She said: “It’s a big dream but I know we can do it. It’s because I know what it’s like to struggle with health problems that I want to help others.

“We are a small, local charity that pumps the funds we receive into making a big difference to people’s lives when they need it most. But now we need to ask for some help.

“If we raise £150,000 by the end of September, a family in desperate need of something to smile about will be enjoying Christmas in a woodland wonderland. Please help us make it happen.”

To support me&dee’s 20/20 Vision, go to www.meanddee.co.uk. Alternatively, email maria@meand dee.co.uk or call 01332 297011.

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