A group of Dad’s in desperate need of some ‘man time’ recently made their way to North Waltham (7 miles S.W. of Basingstoke) for Sebastian’s Action Trust’s first ever ‘Dads’ Sleepover’.
The event was taking place at The Bluebells in North Waltham, a unique facility, purpose-built by the Sebastian’s Action Trust, which offers respite holidays to very sick children and their families.
All of the Dads taking part in this inaugural ‘Dads sleepover’ have a seriously ill child and were taking the opportunity to relax over the weekend with other Dads who are in the same situation. The event was intended as a brief respite from the rigours of family life, from looking after their families and a life-limited child.
Seven of the Dad’s, including Alistair Dobson from Eastleigh, were from Hampshire. They were joined by one other Dad from Lancashire, for the weekends activities which included laser clay pigeon shooting and archery.
Mark Pearce from Andover was named ‘Top Archer’ and Alastair Dobson was named ‘Top Shot’.
Following the afternoons activities, the Dads enjoyed a curry and some beers, in true English style, before eventually turning in for their ‘Sleepover’….
A few hours later, Sunday morning and the Dads enjoyed a cooked breakfast, followed by bowling and a further chance to relax.
But the most important part of the weekend was possibly the talking and sharing, being able to exchange thoughts and experiences with other Dad’s in the same situation.
Neil Carroll from Southampton, told the trust;
“It was a great 24 hours, Sebastian’s Action Trust never ceases to amaze thanks to Jane, Leslie, Lauren and the Bluebells team for making it a brilliant weekend”
Mark Halls from Basingstoke commented;
“Thank you so much!!! An amazing time was had. It’s great to meet and get to know other dads with children in the same situation. I feel very special and treated!!! THANK YOU!”
Besides this kind of short respite, Sebastian’s Action Trust give practical support in many different forms to children battling with life-limiting illnesses and provide meaningful assistance at critical times to families exhausted by the stresses of hospital life and their child’s gruelling treatment.
The Trust does not have a restrictive geographical catchment area and already supports families in the South East, principally from Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, though they also welcome families from well outside these areas.
A spokesman for Sebastian’s Action Trust said;
We recognise that a child’s illness impacts on the whole family. Our aim is to support the families of seriously ill children and we support all members of the family, including siblings and grandparents who often suffer in silence.
In addition to providing one-to-one outreach and befriending support to families, we offer specialist respite breaks at our purpose-built holiday home, the Bluebells.
The home gives families of seriously ill children the chance to spend some precious time with loved ones, away from prying eyes and the rigours of treatment schedules and hospital life.