‘We came close to shutting for ever’

Apollo 2000 Manager Paul Taylor (left) presents Dream House founder Len Curtis with the appliances

Apollo 2000 Manager Paul Taylor (left) presents Dream House founder Len Curtis with the appliances

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THE boss at Donna’s Dream House has told how close his family came to closing the charity’s doors for good after fire ripped through the premises.

Len Curtis, chairman of the Blackpool charity has spoken of his joy as generous donations continue to flow in and speedy progress is made to restore the Chapel Street site to its former glory.

But during dark days at Christmas, Mr Curtis said he considered walking away from the scheme which his family has run for the last 16 years.

He said: “If it hadn’t been for a few very close friends, I don’t know if we’d have kept going. We were close to throwing in the towel. We lost so much of Donna’s memorabilia in the fire – it was hard for our family.

“Friends we were with at New Year convinced us we had to keep Donna’s dream alive and we are so grateful we did. The support we’ve had is just phenomenal.”

The holiday home for terminally ill children was set up in honour of Mr Curtis’s daughter Donna who died at the age of 20.

Burglars broke in on December 20 last year and electrical items were stolen. They then forced open another cabin and set fire to it causing extensive damage.

Two 18-year-old men from Blackpool were arrested on suspicion of arson and burglary following the fire.

They were later released on bail pending further police inquiries.

Meanwhile, work is going full steam ahead and Mr Curtis is hoping to relaunch with a party on March 31. New cabins have been ordered and the cabin housing the health suite has been restored.

Yesterday, generous staff at Apollo 2000 electrical wholesalers on Talbot Road, Blackpool donated £1,000 worth of goods to the charity. The gift included items such as a drinks fridge, a Dyson vacuum cleaner, a plasma TV and a microwave.

Mr Curtis added: “We plan to name the new cabin Phoenix House because it has risen from the ashes.”