Fixing it up like a Dream

Volunteers: Jonathan Toomey from Boogie Bus and David Walsh from Diamondsmile with (back from left) Simon Hall and Sam Smith from E Dugdale & Sons, Mark Butcher from Blackpool Office and plasterer Ben Johnson.
Volunteers: Jonathan Toomey from Boogie Bus and David Walsh from Diamondsmile with (back from left) Simon Hall and Sam Smith from E Dugdale & Sons, Mark Butcher from Blackpool Office and plasterer Ben Johnson.
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A BLACKPOOL charity devastated by an arson attack is rising from the ashes thanks to the help of volunteers.

Tradesmen and local residents willing to lend a hand have been working hard to restore the charity-run holiday haven damaged in a fire before Christmas.

Volunteer: Ben Johnson

Volunteer: Ben Johnson

It is a dream outcome for Len Curtis, founder of the charity which offers breaks for terminally ill children and their families, who is delighted by the efforts.

Mr Curtis, who founded the charity in his daughter Donna’s memory after she lost her battle with cancer, said: “It’s like a phoenix rising from the ashes. It is so unbelievable that it’s overwhelming, it’s phenomenal. We’ve got many different ways to make it look bigger and better.”

Local businessman Mark Butcher, who is a friend of Mr Curtis, has helped bring in an abundance of volunteers through a Facebook appeal.

He has also recruited tradesmen who use his secretarial business, BlackpoolOffice.co.uk.

Volunteer: Electrician Sam Smith from E Dugdale & Sons.

Volunteer: Electrician Sam Smith from E Dugdale & Sons.

Mr Butcher said: “If you have a trade then great, but the idea is anyone can come down whenever they want. The place is a real hive of activity with things going on in every corner. It’s a real community effort. It has been very touching and gives you faith in people. We are bringing it back to life.”

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He added he had always found the charity a “fantastic organisation because of what they do, particularly for the children”.

The fire, which broke out at the premises on Chapel Street in Blackpool on December 21, left the charity’s office and health suite gutted.

But kind-hearted members of the public have rallied around and held fundraising events to bring in an incredible £13,000 to help the charity.

Volunteers, aged between 15 and 72, have been dropping by the charity to renovate the site. The garden is being transformed, complete with a restored conservatory and a mini cinema has been refurbished.

A state of the art fire alarm system worth £6,500 has been fitted free of charge by Procyon Fire and Security Ltd.

The transformation is on target for completion in March.

>> Jason Peter Baxendale, 18, of Granville Road, Blackpool, is charged with arson at Donna’s Dream House.

Cairn Major, 18, of Tyldesley Road, Blackpool, is also charged with arson and burglary at the same site.

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