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MELKSHAM charity Evie’s Gift is now three years old, and has just helped its 700th family.
The charity was set up by parents Bryan and Patsy Clover, in memory of their daughter Evie, who died in 2018 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 13. The charity offers support to families whose children have been admitted to hospital.
Evie’s father and chairman of the charity, Bryan said, “In our first year as a charity, we provided vital accommodation and financial help to just 115 families but since then we have grown rapidly.
“The Covid-19 virus has hit us hard with all of our events being cancelled so fundraising has suffered. But with the roll-out of the vaccine, we hope that 2021 will prove to be the turning point for us and we can get back to something approaching normality.
“Even though the children’s hospitals across the country have reduced their routine operations because of Covid-19, they are still having to deal with emergencies such as accidents or premature births.
“Sadly, the last six months have witnessed a surge in applications from the parents of children suffering from major heart problems.
“These little spikes happen frequently; during the main lockdown last year it was premature babies, then cancer and now heart problems. It is completely unpredictable, but we will always help.
“When we receive an application from a family, we aim to have processed it within an hour and the help on its way soon after that. Booking hotels is sometimes a challenge at the moment as many are closed or have restricted access, but we haven’t been beaten yet!
“The help that we are able to give makes a huge difference in reducing stress levels at what can be an incredibly traumatic time. Believe me, we know. We spent a month in Bristol Children’s Hospital before Evie was brought home for her final six weeks, so that she could be close to those that loved her.
“Our wonderful daughter Evie spent much of her short life helping others whether it was supporting them through tough times at home, making sure that they understood what was needed for homework, or standing shoulder to shoulder with them against a bully. It is that ethos of selfless help that drives us. To be there for others when they need help, to show that we care.
“Our first three years have flown by but Evie’s name must and will live on, living up to the standards that she herself set.”
For more information about the work of Evie’s Gift, please visit their website: www.eviesgift.org.uk