Dream of Ellie's Haven moves a step closer
A charity inspired by the courage of a young girl from Cornwall has reached a major milestone in its bid to create a retreat for families with children suffering long-term and life-limiting illnesses.
Ellie Libby, from Looe in South East Cornwall, was born with a rare brain disorder which resulted in her needing round-the-clock care. She died in January, a few weeks short of her seventh birthday.
Her struggle inspired her parents, Nigel and Julie, to launch the Ellie's Haven fundraising campaign.
The charity has recently completed the purchase of a property that will eventually enable it to offer free holidays to families in a similar situation.
"This is a big breakthrough for us," said Mrs Libby. "We've spent almost five years striving to create a special place for special children. It started as a dream and now it's turning into a reality."
Mr Libby added: "The property is in the village of Duloe, just a few miles from Looe. It ticks a lot of boxes for us. It's peaceful, it's got easy access to Looe and it's got a large, level garden.
"The house and large garage also gives us a good starting point for creating our holiday haven."
The charity plans to extend the house, adding a relaxation area and a new entrance that will link it with the garage, which will be converted into a multi-purpose hall.
The existing interior will be modified and fitted out with equipment to suit the requirements of severely disabled children.
"We've raised almost £420,000 since we started Ellie's Haven in November 2007," said Mr Libby.
"We have been amazed and humbled by the huge support we've had, much of it from the general public and schools, community groups and businesses."
The property, currently called Home Park and to be renamed Ellie's Haven, cost £387,500. The charity will need to raise around £250,000 before it can start construction. Ellie's Haven should be able to start offering free holidays by the spring of 2015.