Sebastian’s Bluebells Holid ...

Bluebells opening

Sebastian’s wish to create a special place where seriously-ill children can enjoy time away with their families has become a reality with the opening of The Bluebells – the UK’s first purpose-built holiday home.

Nine-year-old Sebastian came up with the idea for the holiday house shortly before he died on Christmas Eve 2003. He had been battling a rare cancer called Wilms’ tumour for two-and-half years.

Over the past seven-and-half-years Sebastian’s family has worked tirelessly to secure the land, obtain planning permission and to raise the £1.2 million needed to build and furnish the holiday house Sebastian dreamt of.  On Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th July the house was officially launched with two open days attended by many of those who have helped to achieve Sebastian’s goal. The Trust was also delighted to welcome Lady Brabourne, High Steward of Romsey.

Sebastian’s father Michael said: “The perseverance and determination shown in making Sebastian’s vision a reality typifies the fighting spirit shown by our son throughout his ordeal. I know Sebastian would be so very proud and humbled by this magnificent achievement and the wealth of support that has made The Bluebells possible.”

The Bluebells, in the picturesque Hampshire village of North Waltham, will provide free respite holidays for 100 families with a seriously-ill child each year and will offer another 500 individuals day visits to use its fantastic leisure facilities.

Sebastian had read about holiday facilities available to families with sick children but realised there was nothing that catered for their specialist needs, was wheelchair friendly, big enough to cater for whole families and open all year round, and that is exactly what he and his family set out to achieve.

Sebastian’s mother and Trust Director, Jane said: “When he articulated his plans to raise the money to build a special holiday facility Sebastian had no idea of the scale of such a project. But when you have watched your beloved child endure so much without complaint or fear, the thought of not going to the ends of the earth to realise that wish on his behalf is incomprehensible.

“Sebastian taught us a great deal about coping with adversity and remaining focused on a positive outcome. Undoubtedly he will be watching from afar and will be enormously proud of the huge community of supporters that have joined together to become the heart and soul of Sebastian’s Action Trust. The Bluebells will take us into an exciting new chapter where our efforts to help seriously-ill children take on another new dimension, which is a truly fitting legacy to our beloved son.”

The Bluebells includes:

  • two self-contained four-bedroom apartments equipped to meet the needs of families with a seriously-ill child
  • an indoor pool with hydrotherapy spa, an electric hoist for children with restricted mobility and dry suits to enable young cancer patients, ordinarily prevented from swimming by Hickman lines, the opportunity to swim with their siblings
  • a sensory room
  • a music room with electric guitars, drum kit, piano and instruments for all ages
  • an art room
  • a games area with computer games and board games
  • a home cinema
  • outside there is also a nine-hole mini golf course, an adventure play area and secret meadow

The first two families will arrive at the house for holidays this Sunday

The money needed to build the house was generated through hundreds of fundraising events, personal challenges and donations. The Trust needs to raise an estimated £280k per year to meet the on-going running costs of The Bluebells and the many practical support projects it carries out to assist young people with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses and their families.

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