Charity ‘gutted’ after floods ruin caravans

Jess Downton shows where the flood water came up to
Jess Downton shows where the flood water came up to

Staff at a cancer charity have been left gutted after floods ruined two of its caravans used by children fighting the disease and their families to enjoy time away together.

The damage is a severe blow to the Children With Cancer Fund (CWCF) as one of them was only six months old and had been brought to replace a caravan ruined following previous torrential rain in 2013.

Chris Downton, chairman of the Polegate-based charity, said families were due to be staying in the caravans during half-term week but had to make alternative arrangements. He is hoping the insurance company will cover some of the cost but is appealing for the community to support the cause, with any donations received going towards buying books, toys, TVs and other items that have been ruined.

The 50-year-old was informed two weeks ago that the holiday homes, based at Coombe Haven in St Leonard’s, had been left devastated by the recent bad weather. He said the caravans will have to be replaced, adding, “We’re absolutely gutted, it’s times two this time around.

“We cannot put a child in the caravan that has had contaminated water in it, we can’t take the risk. There’s children that have got no immune system at all.”

He said when a caravan was badly hit in floods in January last year the insurance company was helpful and many organisations came forward to support the cause and he is hoping people will be equally generous this time round. The caravans, which cost thousands each year in rent, rates and maintenance, are used by families who have children with cancer or who have had a young member of the family pass away from the disease.

Mr Downton added, “We know people enjoy their time there from the response we get.”

CWCF was set up by Chris, his wife Ursula, her sister Kirsty and her husband James 16 years ago. To find out more call 488561 or visit: