Sebastian's Action Trust wins Pride of Britain AwardBy Becky Barnes
November 01, 2012
A family who fulfilled their son’s dying wish to build a holiday home for sick children were honoured at the Pride of Britain Awards.
Prime Minister David Cameron presented Jane and Michael Gates with a special recognition award on Monday at Grosvenor House in London.
The Gates, from Binfield, set up Sebastian’s Action Trust in memory of their son, who died of a rare form of childhood cancer in 2003.
Presenting Jane and Michael with their ‘well-deserved award’, Mr Cameron said: “To lose a child is one of the hardest things for any family to bear, but to turn that personal grief into such incredible passion to serve others families, isn’t just dedication, hard work and brilliance, it is incredible bravery.”
Jane, 49, director of the Bagshot-based charity, said the family were ‘extremely honoured’ to accept the award in Sebastian’s memory and hopes it will result in more support so they can build another respite care home to meet increasing demand.
She said: “Sebastian would be thrilled to know his inspiration now supports so many seriously-ill children and their families and that it is deserving of this prestigious national award.”
Michael, 53, added: “It seems fitting that in the year Sebastian would have reached adulthood the charity he inspired is receiving national recognition. I know our son would be very touched and that his positive attitude and ability to think of others is at the forefront of everything Sebastian’s Action Trust achieves.”
Sebastian was just seven when he was diagnosed with a Wilm’s tumour, which doctors discovered was the size of a rugby ball.
Twelve days before he died, Sebastian told his parents of his dream of a holiday home for families of very ill children to spend precious time together.
Jane, a former teacher, Michael, a retired police officer and daughter Rebecca, 23, channelled their grief into finishing what their son had started and the £1.6million purpose-built holiday home, called The Bluebells, opened in North Waltham, Hampshire, in July 2011.
Jane thanked the staff, volunteers and fundraisers who helped make Sebastian’s Action Trust ‘a charity with a big heart’.
She added: “If anyone is interested in helping us by supporting The Bluebells and practical support service or helping us to achieve our goal of another respite house please contact me.”
The awards in association with the Bracknell Forest Standard’s sister paper Daily Mirror, the Prince’s Trust, Lidl, ITV1 and Daybreak were shown on ITV1 on Tuesday night.
Anyone interested in helping Sebastian’s Action Trust create a second respite house can contact Jane by email on email@example.com or (01344) 622 500.