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18 February 2010, 06:00
The dying wish of a nine year old boy from Ascot has finally been realised, on what would have been his sixteenth birthday.
Sebastian Gates lost his fight with cancer on Christmas Eve in 2003. His mum Jane told Heart that before he passed away, he asked her to create a special place in his memory, "His last wish, which he launched just twelve days before he died, was to be able to help more sick children like himself, by creating a very special and totally unique holiday home."
Listen to the full interview with Sebastian's mum
On Thursday, that wish is coming true, with a ground-breaking ceremony on a piece of land near Basingstoke. Jane told us it has taken six years to get this far, "It has been a real rollercoaster journey. The myriad of emotions have been shared not just with our family but with our many supporters. The last six years have been incredibly busy with fundraising, sorting out planning permission and finding a suitable builder who can help us create this special place."
Sebastian wanted a special place for sick children and their families to be able to spend quality time together.
Jane explained this was largely inspired by his own experiences, "When you have a very sick child, the number of times that you try to plan a holiday can be many but the number of opportunities for that to actually happen can be few, because the child's condition deteriotes and they need more treatment etc. In our personal situation we had to cancel holidays on no less than twelve occasions."
The holiday home will only be available to families in the South, from Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Buckinghamshire. The idea is that it should take families no longer than an hour to get there, so should anything happen and the child needs hospital treatment, they will be close to their medical team. It also means families will be able to stay on at the holiday home if they need to, or are able to get home quickly.
Jane told us, once completed, the site will include some amazing facilities, "There'll be an indoor pool with a spa element. A music room, a games room, a sensory room, a home cinema, a library and lots of other facilities. There will be lots of things that will keep families busy so if they wanted to, they could simply come down for a long weekend or a week, park up and not have to move."
The building will include self-catering accomodation for up to two families at a time and should be up and running by around April 2011.
Find out more:
Sebastian's Action Trust is a registered charity.
Tel: 01344 622500