A family supported by Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People following the death of their daughter have won the charity’s Grand Car Raffle.
Julie and Pete Thomas, of Huby, went to the Boston Spa-based facility when their daughter Esme died two years ago, where they and their other daughter Imogen, now seven, were able to spend time with her, as well as receiving bereavement support.
Esme, who was two-and-a-half, had a form of cardiomyopathy and had a pacemaker fitted, but she had a sudden collapse and couldn’t be resuscitated.
Julie, 39, said: “The A&E consultant suggested we come to Martin House and we were lucky enough to use one of the cooled bedrooms.
“It’s hard to express how much you feel enveloped in care when you come here. Imogen could play in the gardens, we could talk to people and there was practical help for us.
“We also came to the bereaved parents’ group and Imogen went to the children’s group, and we’ve made really good friends there as well.
“That’s why we’re big supporters of Martin House, because we found its support invaluable. We bought the raffle ticket not to win, but to support Martin House. I just couldn’t believe it, out of all the thousands of tickets mine won.”
Martin House cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions from across West, North and East Yorkshire – and their families.
As well as respite stays at its hospice, its services include care at home, end of life care and bereavement support.
The annual Grand Car Raffle sees the winner drive away a brand new Citroen C1, and since 2011 has raised over £250,000 for Martin House.
Julie, Pete, 40, and Imogen were handed the keys to their new car by ITV Calendar presenter and Martin House ambassador Christine Talbot.
This year’s raffle has added £24,016 to the total, and thanks to the support of sponsors HARIBO and Evans Halshaw Citroen Leeds, more of the money raised goes to supporting children and young people.
Jason Costello, events and corporate fundraising manager at Martin House, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to present Julie, Pete and Imogen with their new car, it feels particularly special for a Martin House family to win this year’s prize.
“We’d like to thank everyone who supported us by buying a ticket, and to our sponsors HARIBO and Evans Halshaw Citroen Leeds for once again joining us to offer this amazing prize.”
Julie Beaman, Corporate Communications at HARIBO comments: “It’s always very exciting to hear how much money the car raffle has raised for Martin House and to see who has won this wonderful prize.
“To find out that a family that has been supported by this wonderful charity has won the raffle is fantastic.”
Peter Dean, dealer principal at Evans Halshaw Citroen Leeds, said: “We’re proud to have once again supported Martin House, and we’re delighted so much has been raised which will help families in our region receive vital care and support.”