THE founders of Donna’s Dream House have told of their joy after a cherished box containing their daughter’s dying wishes was recovered from the fire ravaged building.
Len Curtis, founder of the Blackpool charity which provides holidays for sick children, thought the red box in which his daughter Donna kept her dying wishes had been destroyed.
Donna, who died from cancer when she was 20, wrote down her hopes for the future in the cardboard box which she gave to her parents before she died.
It was in this box she put her dream of her parents one day starting a charity to help dying youngsters.
But when vandals torched the office block containing her mementoes on December 23, the heartbroken family thought the box had burned.
This week however as they cleared through the wreckage, it was discovered under some charred remains.
Mr Curtis said: “Of all the things we kept in the fire damaged building, Donna’s box was the most important to us as a family.
“We kept it there because it is part of the building and people who hear Donna’s story like to see it.
“I was heartbroken when I thought it was gone, especially as it was cardboard, I didn’t think it would have stood a chance in the fire.
“When the forensics officers came, they were looking round in the rubble and I asked them to keep their eyes open.
“I couldn’t believe it when they found it virtually untouched, it’s incredible.”
Mr Curtis and his wife Barbara gave the box to their daughter as she was dying so she could write down anything she wanted to say which she couldn’t talk about.
After her death, the heartbroken family opened it and found her three most important wishes.
She asked her parents to raise funds to help start a children’s hospice, she asked for them to raise money to send ill children to Florida and also to start a charity so children could have holidays in Blackpool.
They have since achieved all three.
Mr Curtis added: “Finding Donna’s box put me back on the straight and narrow after she died.
“I had gone a little off the rails but having her wishes gave us focus and we started fundraising with friends and neighbours.
“It all just grew from there.
“We are so very grateful to have the box back, it is something which could never be replaced.
“It is at home with us in Cleveleys now but as soon as the block is rebuilt, it will go back to the Dream House – where it belongs.”