Donation to benefit children with serious health challenges

Two children with serious health challenges will be able to have a memorable and life-changing week of fun at a residential camp next year thanks to a donation from a regional co-operative.

The Havant-based charity, Over The Wall, originally approached The Co-operative Funeralcare in Widley for a donation of £50 to buy some cakes to help with fundraising.

When Community Fundraising Officer, Judith Meagher, phoned the funeral home to ask about the money, Funeral Co-ordinator Rianne Rose gave her the news that they weren’t donating £50 – they were instead going to donate £1,350.

Karen Willmett, Funeral Co-ordinator, said: “I’d been talking about the charity with a colleague at another one of our branches, also part of Southern Co-op, and they said they wanted to help with the donation to Over The Wall. Before I knew it, they all wanted to contribute which meant a total of £1,350.

“It’s such a special cause that everyone wants to help out. We heard how the children have such serious health challenges that many of them find it hard just to make friends.

“It’s not just funding these activity camps for free… it is everything that is involved from medical staff to refrigeration units for medication. We are so happy to hear that our donation will make a real difference.”

Nine funeral branches from Southern Co-op made up the final donation of £1,350 including The Co-operative Funeralcare in Widley, Hayling Island, Leigh Park, Emsworth, Cowplain, Cosham and Waterlooville.

Over The Wall has increased the numbers of campers attending its free residential activity camps for seriously ill children from 260 in 2010 to 867 in 2018, with plans to reach 1,500 by 2022.

Judith Meagher said: “When they first told me I screamed down the phone. I only went in to the branch on the off chance – I was actually visiting the cake store next door. I had gone away thinking ‘great’ I can buy lots of cakes for £50!

“So to get a donation of £1,350 is just the best news. It made me very emotional. That will pay for two children such as siblings to go to our family camp.

“We look after children affected by a huge number of different illnesses. At camp, we aim to build each camper’s confidence, self-esteem and coping strategies through challenges tailored for each child which could range from climbing a wall to making a new friend.”

At Health Challenge camps and Siblings camps, Over The Wall provide a team of volunteer qualified doctors, paramedics and nurses who provide all necessary care, giving medication, feeds, changing dressings, personal care, as well as monitoring their health over the duration of the camp.

Applications can be made for children aged 8 to 17 years, living in the UK, who are currently receiving treatment, or experiencing health challenges. To find out more, visit www.otw.org.uk.

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