The Ben Parker Trust Fund began in March 2004. The first charity fundraiser was a huge success and raised £11,000 through a massive cabaret event and auction evening in Ilkeston.
With this money, the Trust bought a caravan at the Haven holiday site in Mablethorpe – the very first ‘Ben’s Den’. From then on the caravan has provided free holidays for families with children diagnosed with cancer and leukaemia.
The Trust works closely with CLIC Sargent, who refer the families to us and Haven, who kindly gift free entertainment passes for the families to take full advantage of the site, without spending a penny.
Mablethorpe was chosen not just because it has a wonderful family atmosphere, with lovely sandy beaches and fresh, clean sea air, but because it is only a few hours’ drive away. This means poorly children can make the short journey and they are close enough in case an unexpected visit to the hospital is needed.
Why we need your support…
Throughout his fight with Leukaemia, Ben’s parents realised the importance of family time, holidays and breaks from hospital life – but this can be difficult. When something as devastating as cancer hits a family, at least one parent will usually have to give up work to care for their child. This means no spare money for things like a family break – no matter how desperately it’s needed.
Another obstacle to quality family time is the intensive and unpredictable nature of the treatment, which makes it impossible to book holidays in advance. But the simplicity of Ben’s Den means that there is there is no charge; the families can book or cancel at the last minute with nothing to lose.
Over the last decade the trust has held many different charity events and through the support of the community has raised enough money to buy a fifth caravan Ben’s Den 5 which will allow more families the chance to spend quality time together. Ben’s Den 5 is a adapted caravan which will mean fully inclusive access for wheelchairs.