Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Amazing news for Elliot!

We have some great news for you.

We've been quiet again, but for good reason. Today, Elliot has been admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital for pre-Op checks. On Friday, all being well, he will have his operation.

The reason we've been quiet was to try and manage how much Elliot knows about it, to help him manage the anxiety he feels. We were concerned to ensure that school or other friends didn't find out and speak to him about it. Instead, we've been keeping him informed on a need-to-know basis and gradually working towards the news this week.

It's going to be a really hard few weeks, for all of our family.  Elliot's little brother and sister will be looked after by their Gran, but will miss Elliot and their Mum and Dad who, at various times, will both be away from our family home. But we believe this is a fabulous opportunity for Elliot and our excitement about the outcome helps to temper our nervousness.

Elliot isn't just having the SDR operation, he's also having orthopaedic surgery on his legs to compliment the SDR.  This will mean that his recovery might not show immediate results like other SDR operations can, but the benefit to Elliot will be immense.

Some of you will have seen our post about fundingannounced by NHS England a couple of months ago. Well, Elliot was accepted for this a few weeks ago. We were over the moon for obvious reasons, but it also meant there was no longer a question over who would fund potentially exponential costs of his Haemophilia drugs - everything is funded by our wonderful NHS.

In terms of the funds that you have helped us raise, you will be aware that over half of it was intended for physiotherapy.  This is still needed as local physiotherapy teams are under severe pressure and it is unclear whether they will be able to provide a sufficient service for patients recovering from the SDR operation. 

But what of the other half of the funds raised? We are hoping that no-one will object to us using this to provide physio therapy for more years to come, beyond the two years that we originally budgeted for. This will mean that we won't have to fundraise again for support for Elliot which he is bound to need if the effects of the operation are to be maintained.  If there are any objections, please do let us know.

You have helped make this happen - your support has been fundamental to allowing us to pursue even the thought of this operation with GoSH. We will provide regular updates on here to tell you about how our gorgeous Elliot is recovering.

James and Morwenna Gower.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

In limbo...

It’s been quite a while since we’ve been able to give you any news on the blog, so we’ve felt a little out of touch with our lovely friends and readers.

As we write now, it’s still a bit difficult – we are rather in limbo.

It’s been quite a turbulent time lately: we thought we were close to being given an operation date, then we weren’t, then we had some exciting news about funding, now we’re in limbo again… shall we tell you the whole story?

We reached our fundraising target back in May as you know – and due to the generosity of many people continuing so support us, the funds have continued to increase.  We are now up to £70,000. Thank you!

We hit a huge obstacle at about the same time that our active fundraising came to an end.  We were told that rules around NHS co-funding might prevent the SDR operation actually taking place. Elliot’s Haemophilia means that he has to have expensive drugs every other day to reduce his risk of spontaneous bleeds.  These drugs are needed more frequently to ensure his safety during the SDR operation and could potentially cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.   Obviously we would not be able to cover this cost but the NHS is not allowed to co-fund an operation that is partly being paid for out of private funds.

Together with Elliot’s medical teams we were trying to work out if there were ways around this for quite a while.  We considered a campaign for assistance from local politicians and even thought about restarting the fundraising. The Haemophilia team at Great Ormond Street finally decided it would be unethical for us to attempt to pay, because he could need more treatment than our funds could cover.

You can probably imagine that this was getting quite stressful.  We were beginning to wonder if we would ever work it out, when NHS England made an amazing announcement. They are going to fund 120 SDR operations across the UK.  We didn’t quite know how to react! We got straight onto the phone to Great Ormond Street who confirmed that they are one of the centres that will be funded.

Where does this leave us?
It means that the cost of the operation itself is likely to be fully funded.  This is, frankly, beyond our wildest dreams.  The funding of the haemophilia medication may no longer be an issue because we wouldn’t be co-funding.  Likely and may are in italics for good reason – we simply have not had any confirmation yet and there is a lot of work ahead for various NHS departments to agree the process.  We were recently on South Today talking about how difficult the delays are.

When we began our fundraising we could not have imagined that NHS England would have made this decision.  So what to do with the money that you have all raised? Over half of the funds were going to be dedicated to Elliot’s post-op physio for up to two years. 

We hope that you will be as delighted as we are to think that the funds could now be used to help Elliot’s rehabilitation for many years to come.  The NHS may provide a minimum amount of physiotherapy, but the reality of the operation and his condition means that he will need more intense support for many years to come. Being able to provide this privately will have an immeasurable effect on his mobility and hopefully many other life outcomes.

So what now?
Well, we are still in limbo! There is tentative suggestion of a surgery date in October. We are trying to limit our excitement at the moment until we know for sure,  but we promise we’ll keep you informed when we have news to share.

Thank you for continuing to keep us in your thoughts and support us with your well wishes.  We can’t wait until the post operation days when we can finally sit down with confidence and write all our thank you notes and tell you about Elliot’s progress.  That time will come, soon!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

You've done it

You've done it for Elliot.  You've collectively raised the £66,300 fundraising target, in only 6 months!

Even though we've watched the funds grow rapidly over the last few months, it still feels like the most amazing surprise.

A huge number of you have contributed your time, your own money, your talents and your enthusiasm. How can we possibly thank you enough? Hopefully you'll be able to follow Elliot's progress after the operation and see the huge impact that you, however you've been able to contribute, will have made to his mobility and quality of life.

We don't currently have an exact date for the operation but Great Ormond Street Hospital have told us that it should be well in advance of the summer holidays, so we'll get a date through soon and keep you all posted.

We've got one more thing to ask of you.  Very soon we will be writing a post about how you and we have achieved this together to share with other families who are going through the same stressful times.  We'll be asking you to share this far and wide so that we can increase the chance we will reach other families wanting SDR for their children, to let them know that it IS possible, it CAN be done!

We thought this would be a really long blog post but actually there's only so much we can say, and it's basically a very, very big THANK YOU.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Easter Endurance Eggstravaganza for Elliot!

Here at Operation Elliot blog HQ we've just heard about an amazing challenge that two impressive Kayakers are undertaking for Elliot.

Edward Long and his kayaking partner Brad will be racing 125 miles from Devizes in Wiltshire to Westminster this weekend, along with 200 other kayakers.  We're exhausted just thinking about it!

Here's what the official race website says:
The Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race starts in Devizes, Wiltshire and finishing just downstream of Westminster Bridge in central London, opposite the Houses of Parliament. The race has been held annually over the Easter Weekend since 1948.
The race is 125 miles long and has 77 portages. The first 52 miles are along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Reading, the next 55 miles are on the River Thames to Teddington. The final 17 mile section is on the tidal portion of the Thames.

Ed and Brad will be kayaking for about 22 hours straight, day and night - we really hope that the weather is kind to them over the weekend.  Their supporters have certainly been very generous, they have raised £1,229 so far, very nearly their target of £1,250 through their Justgiving site.

Here are some more photos of the pair training.  Good luck Ed and Brad, we're all rooting for you!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Eating for Elliot!

This week we hear from Sophie Donovan and friends who completed a sponsored three-day purée diet for Operation Elliot, eating nothing but pureed meals and thickened water (apparently normal water was not allowed).  Sound disgusting? Well it was, just look at the photos below!  Sophie is a friend of Elliot's Mum Morwenna. Sophie and other fellow Speech and Language Therapists have together raised over £3,000 for Operation Elliot.

£3,000 for eating disgusting food.  Is it worth it? Well of course we think so!  Here's how Sophie, Helen and colleagues, and Becky, Jo, Shona, Nikki and Jules managed it:

Sophie, tell us what it was like to eat nothing but pureed meals for three days
Pretty grim! I was thirsty all the time despite making a real effort to keep my fluids up. The drinks were awful thickened! Smoothies were ok but I quickly got fed up with having sweet drinks all the time. I became desperate for water!

I made some soup for lunches and had puréed shepherds pie one night. They actually tasted ok but the food looks awful puréed. Not at all appetising, even when you're hungry! On Fri night I had puréed curry & rice which I just couldn't finish - it was all wrong, yuk.  My first normal meal tasted amazing. Pizza and a glass of crisp white wine has never tasted so good!

How did you keep going?
I had such a fantastic response from friends and colleagues which really helped keep me going, plus we all supported each other on Facebook which was fantastic (purée dieters and others from our UCL course). We shared notes about palatable foods and things to stock up on that were easy to transport around for snacks etc.

Anyway, that's enough from me! Here are some snippets from the others' Facebook food diaries:

Shona's Facebook Diary, Day One:
Day one of sponsored modified diet done. Harder than I thought. I have learned that thickened drinks really are awful. Tea is especially vile. Also getting a smooth texture in blended foods is difficult as I had to blend and then sieve some things. Also experimented with using the thickener as a soaking solution - soaked sandwiches anyone? Urghhhh!

Jules' Facebook Diary, Day One:
I've just encountered first pureed meal that I couldnt finish: scrambled eggs, veggie hotdogs and tomatoes. Just not right! Then tonic water thickened- fizzes over and was just unpalatable. However, black Earl grey tea (sweetened) was ok, and almost getting used to water being somewhere between wallpaper paste and frogspawn....At least it's for a good cause!

Jo's Facebook Diary, Day 3:
I've just had my last puréed meal - carrot, broccoli, potato with brown sauce for a bit of flavour, served up in one big splurge! And for pudding, treacle sponge pud and custard all blended together - SO sweet.

Reckon I'll have another thickened drink before bed. Looking forward to normal drinks more than anything tomorrow - I miss water the most. Still v thirsty.

A really big and heartfelt thanks to you all for your donations - together you have raised more than £250 through my challenge - with some more for me to forward when pledges are collected. Wonderful. I'm truly moved by your generosity and know that Elliot and his family are too x x

We certainly are, thanks to all of you for enduring what sounds like a truly horrible challenge!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Hard graft

Carrying on our posts about all the hard work our supporters have been doing, we also wanted to hear from Angela Cole, one of Elliot's family's oldest friends (duration, not age!).

Angela has been the coordination and brains behind some very successful events. The folk concert at Elliot's Granny's house raised a whopping £936.  Many thanks go to Ed and Mo for all their hard work, and the fantastic performers: Rod Jenkins & Black Tulip, Malcolm Bishop, Take Thackray, Frank Boyle, Bob Whitley, Sue Pugh & Dave Lambert.

And then there was the Zumba party, also Angela's doing.  Angela said "It went really well despite a terrible storm which kept quite a few away.  The session was very energetic and enjoyable and we had masses of cakes and scones to raffle".  The Zumba raised over £200, a fantastic amount - and thanks must go to Claire Nightingale and the Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre who donated the sports hall. 

If any of you were at the Valentine's Dinner and Auction you'll know that the room looked stunning.
Angela after the hard work was done

Well, it was Angela that did all this for us - she spent hours hand-making the amazing table centre pieces and generally making all the tables beautiful. She's a wonder, don't you think?

The success of the auction was down to lots of people, not least the very generous businesses and friends that donated holidays, collector's items and days out.  Without them, it simply wouldn't have happen. Here's a reminder of how generous people were - we had so many lots to auction!

And of course, the auction itself was run by our Star Wars celebrity extraordinaire Jack McKenzie and seasoned charity auctioneer Juliet Pull.  We are incredibly grateful to both of them for helping us out and getting some fantastic prices!

Here are some more photos of the night, including early photos of the children 'helping' to set up the room!! :)

Loadsa fun getting ready for the auction night!

Some of the impressive auction lots

Thursday, 20 March 2014

How did we get here?!

We're using the word 'overwhelmed' a lot at the moment.  We're overwhelmed that we've reached over £43k, getting so close to our goal for Elliot.  We're overwhelmed at the generosity of donations and support we've received. And we often feel overwhelmed by the sheer hard work of our friends and family and even people we don't know.  Our supporters have been organising events, drumming up support from their business and social networks, and generally being amazing.

We've asked a few of our friends who've organised some fantastic events over the last few weeks to tell us a little bit about their successes over the next few blog posts.  Whether you've organised or supported an event, made a donation or shared our campaign with your friends, you've helped us get to where we are - ever closer to getting Elliot the operation he needs!

First up are Hanna and Izzie Butler, Mother and Daughter team extraordinaire.  Hanna has been pounding the pavements of Southbourne Grove encouraging local traders to support us.  You might remember the offers on our Facebook page before Christmas about how traders were helping us by donating a percentage of their takings on certain items. Hanna has continued her relentless work and the latest kindness is from HSBC who did a cake sale for customers last Monday.

Hanna's daughter Issie wanted to get in on the action to help her friend Elliot too.  We thought it would be cool to hear directly from Izze, so we asked her to tell us about her event:

Issie, Glitter Girl Queen!
1) How old are you Issie and how do you know Elliot?
I am 7 years old and I know Elliot because he used to go to Pre school with me and now he goes to my school.

2) Why did you want to organise an event?
Because Elliot has got problems with his legs and he needs lots of money to have an operation.  I wanted to help him because he is my friend.  I wanted to give him my Christmas money but Mummy & Daddy said it would be a good idea to try and do something to help him and raise more money.

3) And how did you come up with the Glitter Girls idea?
I had an idea for a party with dancing and all the things you do to get ready, like nails, and hair, and I came up with the Glitter Girls Disco Party. To start with it was just going to be my friends coming to my house, but Mummy thought more people might like to come.  We asked some friends and their Mummies if they would help us paint nails and do lots of beauty treatments.  We asked Father John if we could use the church hall for the party, and then Mummy and me went to lots of shops and asked them if they could donate things for it.  

4) What was the event like? Who came and what did you do at it?
All of my friends and some people from school came, as well as people from ballet and people from other schools who I didn’t know!  We had make up, hair crimping, face painting, make up, stick on earrings, glitter tattoos, nail painting, a pocket money stall and dancing.  My auntie Tanya, Evie & Freya’s Mummy and my dance teacher Yolanda all did dance routines for us.  It was lots of fun.  All the Daddies sold tea and cakes to the mums and dads, and the Mummies did the painting and stuff.

5) How much money did you raise?
We raised £800!  I sold tickets in the school playground with my friend Erin and we charged £1 for tickets and then on the day we asked for donations for the beauty treatments and the tea & coffee.

6) Wow, that's amazing! How did it make you feel?

It made me feel happy and excited.  

It made us feel happy and excited too, thank you so much for organising Glitter Girls for Elliot.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Zumba for Elliot

Elliot's doing lots of physical training for his operation at the moment.  If you'd like to get in on the action, there's a fundraising Zumba event next weekend. 
Details below - note the all important cake raffle for when you're done exercising...!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Another busy week

After a fantastically successful week in the run up to Valentine's day, this coming week is another busy one for our wonderful supporters.

Let's take a look back at Valentine's week first.

There was a coffee morning and beauty treatments at The Lemon Tree salon in Tuckton which raised £337, a coffee morning and raffle at Elliot's Grandma's house, 'The Great Toy Sale' at Twyford School in Winchester which raised £814, A classical concert on Valentine's night at St Peter's Church in Poole and, of course the Operation Elliot Valentine's Dinner and Auction at the Captains Club in Christchurch.

Regular readers will know that there were some amazing goodies, holidays and experiences donated for the Valentine's auction by businesses in Bournemouth and further afield - across the UK as well as France, Austria and Switzerland.  Congratulations to all the winners.  We're still sorting out the income from that night but it's well over £7,000. All in the week that we exceeded the £30,000 fundraising milestone, a wonderful achievement.

During the week after Valentine's Day Clare Hookem managed her very first 5k run at the Glow in the Park fun run - running at night in this freezing cold weather! Well done Clare for getting your medal - and for looking so perky at the finish line.

So what inspiring things are coming up this week?
This Sunday please go down to the seafront between Boscome and Bournemouth piers to support Carol Francom Davies who will be cycling between the piers 16 times - to make up 25 miles.  We all know it's going to be cold but there's the added pressure of cycling on sand due to the recent storms. Oh Carol, we do hope it will be okay for you, you've been training throughout this grim winter.

We imagine some more grim training is in order for Sophie, Helen and Jules who will be starting a three day puree diet on Thursday 27th Feb.  If you're anything like me and enjoy your food, now might be the time to get to to give them some encouragement!

And finally, on 28th February Elliot's Granny and friends are hosting an acoustic gig and supper at home. We're delighted to say that tickets have sold out for this, which is great news - another successful fundraiser before it's even taken place.

We continue to be so grateful to everyone who is chipping in, either by simply spreading the word or organising events or doing their own challenges.  It really keeps us hopeful that we'll make the total for Elliot. Very, very exciting!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Operation Elliot Auction - email your bid now!

We are delighted to present this selection of some of the items for auction at our Valentine's Dinner.
If you can't be at the dinner on Friday but want to bid, please email your maximum bid to by midday on Friday 14th Feb 2014.
The subject line must include AUCTION and the Lot number. 
**Conditions apply, please see end of post below**

Happy Bidding!

 Collector's items 

LOT#1 Goalkeeper gloves signed by Artur Boruc and Match Shirt and Programme signed by Luke Shaw
Artur is one of the goalkeepers for Southampton Football Club First Team and 
Luke is number 23, an up and coming player who plays for both under 21 and First team at Southampton Football Club

LOT#2 Football boots signed by Adam Lallana and Limited Edition Luminous Yellow Training Top also signed by Adam Lallana, No 20
Size 7 Puma football boots donated by Adam Lallana – Captain of Southampton Football Club and member of the England squad who recently played against Germany.  These are signed and embossed with the name of his son Arthur as a special commission

LOT#3 Jack McKenzie signed Star Wars pictures
Star of stage and screen, Jack McKenzie (also known as Deck Lieutenant Cal Alder from The Empire Strikes Back) has donated some pictures from his time on the set of this classic film for us. These are great items for any Star Wars fan and as Jack has offered, very kindly, to co-host our auction, he is willing to sign the pictures too.

LOT#4 Football boots signed by Rickie Lambert and Limited Edition Luminous Yellow Training Top  also signed by Rickie Lambert,  No 7
Size 10.5 Nike football boots worn by Rickie Lambert who is a valued member of Southampton Football Club First Team and also an England squad member.  Rickie recently played in England matches against Chile and Germany and also scored a goal against Burnley in the F.A.Cup.

LOT#5 Signed Bournemouth AFC away shirt.
Signed by whole team on 21st January 2014.

LOT#6 LEGO Master Builder Academy Products
Exclusively created for America and extremely hard to find in the UK this is a one off opportunity to obtain all of the following sets:
·     Space Designer
·     Action Designer
·     Adventure designer

LOT#6A LEGO Movie set
·      Exclusive set for the release of the new Lego film

Experiences/Days out

LOT#7 Location Photo Shoot with Samantha Taylor
1 hour photo shoot on location in Bournemouth or Poole including a minimum of 20 high resolution images.  Valid May-December 2014

LOT#8 Day fishing permit x 2 at Orchard Lakes in New Milton
Situated within 56 acres of farmland in the New Forest national park, our well established lakes have grown from strength to strength throughout the years to become one of the most prolific fisheries in the south.  Orchard Lakes has something for everyone as the lakes are stocked with 12 different species of fish over 5 lakes. We offer everything from match fishing, with bags of fish weighing in at over 300lb, to species hunting with large carp, bream and tench to be caught.

LOT#9 Use of Southbourne beach hut for 1 week.
Located on Southbourne beach near to Gordons zig zag this is an ideal spot to watch the waves or use as a base for some beach play. Date July/August. Daytime use only.

LOT#10 Afternoon Tea for two at the Chewton Glen
Enjoy a relaxing traditional English Afternoon Tea for two in the luxury of the Chewton Glen hotel in Hampshire.  Featuring a selection of teas, sandwiches and cakesthe afternoon tea is available daily, excluding bank holidays, until 18th December 2014.

LOT#11 Tour for 2 people of Palmers Brewery in Bridport
Palmers Brewery is the only thatched Brewery in the UK and is situated in the hills on the outstanding Jurassic Coast.  The tour is valid from Easter –October 2013 and takes you through the historic brewery buildings giving an insight into the brewing process.  The tour ends with beer tasting where you will receive a Palmers glass tankard commemorating your visit!

LOT#12 Day course in Japanese Art of Ikebana
To be held in private studio in Harbridge introducing you to this disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together.   Course includes all flowers and plant material, use of Japanese containers and kenzans needed for the day.

LOT#13 AFC Bournemouth Hospitality Package for Bournemouth vs Doncaster Rovers, 1st March 2014
This fantastic package includes tickets to the match, a 3 course dinner and afternoon tea at half time! 

LOT#14 Mercedes F1 factory tour for four people at Brackley with signed year book
This is a money can’t buy opportunity!!! 
The 2013 year book is signed by drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton and Ross Brawn and Toto, the team principle.
LOT#15 Night out at Poole Greyhound stadium
Includes a meal for 4 people in the Gallery Restaurant and admission and racecard for any Tuesday or Sunday race evening.  Valid until 27th May 2014.

LOT#16 18 holes of Golf at Canford Magna Golf Club
Canford Magna
One round of golf for four people any time!  Do book the tee time well in advance on 01202 592552.


LOT#17 A long weekend in ‘The Peep’ cottage in Pentewan, Cornwall.
The Peep is over 150 years old and is in the picturesque village of Pentewan on the south coast of Cornwall, between Mevagissey and St. Austell.
The Peep is perfect for families. It is just 2 minutes walk from a safe, sandy beach and has two bedrooms (One Double, One Bunk bedroom), a Bathroom with Shower and a fully equipped kitchen. Here is the website for more details:

LOT#18 1 Week in a self catering holiday flat in Southbourne, Bournemouth. – Belle Vue Grange.
For a great holiday in Southbourne look no further than Belle Vue Grange. Ideal for
families this self contained flat sleeping up to 6 with everything you'll need for a comfortable stay in Southbourne is just a few minutes walk away from the beach and is within easy reach of Christchurch, Bournemouth town centre, New Forest and Hengistbury Head. Southbourne has safe waters and plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby. If you enjoy walking there are beautiful coastal walks to discover and stunning views to see.

LOT#19 1 Night’s Bed and Breakfast in Bournemouth premier Eco Hotel - the Green House Hotel.
The hotel opened in April 2010 to rave reviews and in November 2010 was named ‘Small Hotel of the Year’ at the Bournemouth Tourism Awards. Everything about the hotel is green…They’ve taken care of the usual things, of course, like using energy efficient lighting, and asking guests to reuse their towels. But you would expect that. And let’s be honest, these things alone won’t change the world. They know, as you do, that to make a real difference they need to make some big changes. So over the past four years they’ve done over 100 things to make sure everything about the hotel has been designed to spoil you without spoiling anything else. Needs to be taken before April 2014. Available Sunday to Friday only!

LOT#20 2 Night’s Easter Break in Stratford-upon-Avon at 4* Macdonald Swan's Nest Hotel, Bed & Breakfast only.
Macdonald Swan's Nest Hotel is one of the most popular 4-star hotels in Stratford-upon-Avon. Set on the banks of the Avon, less than a 5 minute walk from the centre of Shakespeare's town, this 17th century red brick townhouse

With direct access to historic theatres and Shakespeare Houses, the hotel is a popular choice for family holidays, leisure breaks and romantic weekends as well as business, weddings and special occasions. It boasts superb hotel accommodation, stylish meeting and function rooms and all residents have complimentary use of the Vital Health and Wellbeing club at the nearby Macdonald Alveston Manor Hotel.  Available Good Friday – Easter Sunday 2014 only.  (Friday 18th to Sunday 20th April 2014)

LOT#21 A Weekend Break for two at Ham Farm Holiday Cottages in North Devon
Ham Farm Country Cottages has been in one family for generations. It comprises six luxury country cottages and farmhouse offering a unique opportunity to experience natural Devon at it's unspoilt best. Idyllically set in the peace and tranquillity of the countryside just a short drive from North Devon's spectacular coastline.  Surrounded by five acres of carefully landscaped gardens and grounds with a further 100 acres of pasture and woodland to enjoy - it is an island of undisturbed peace, rich in wildlife and offering a variety of interesting walks, space to breathe, relax and forget the rush of modern living. Yet in less than one hour's drive you can find plenty of interesting places to visit and many varied activities.  To be taken in April, May or June 2014

LOT#22 One week stay in a cottage in Normandy, France. Sleeps 6. Available to book any week between Saturday May 24th and Saturday June 28th
The cottage is just outside the village of Notre Dame du Touchet close to Mortain and St Hilaire du Harcouet on the Normandy / Brittany borders.  It is Ideally located for exploring both Normandy and Brittany. Clean deserted sandy beaches about half an hours drive, as is Mont St Michel, and there is excellent fishing all around the area and four golf courses easily accessible. The D day beaches are about 90 minutes away.  Access from the ferries is easy with St Malo (60 miles) being about one hours drive, Cherbourg (98 miles) two hours , Caen (80 miles) one and a half hours and Le Havre about  two hours away.

The cottage is one of 3 houses situated at the end of a long private road about a mile outside the village.  Set on the edge of a quiet and peaceful valley they enjoy a peaceful and tranquil location ideal for a relaxing holiday.  The children (and adults) can really be free to run around and make as much noise as you like. A shared solar panel heated pool system is also available with a smaller baby/learning pool with a solar panel/ramp leading down to the main pool 5m X 10m in size.

The cottage offered is situated by a wildflower meadow/orchard the cottage has a well equipped kitchen, utility room with downstairs toilet and washing machine.  There is a lounge-dining area with wood-burner and French windows out onto a large patio area with outdoor table and chairs, sun loungers & BBQ. Sleeping: Family bedroom with double bed and single chair bed; double bedroom with vanity unit; small bedroom with two small single beds.  Separate toilet. Bath/Shower room with wash basin. 

Lot#23 One week stay in Austrian chalet between 23 May 2014 and 21 June 2014
Chalet Kolbnitz is a traditional Austrian detached house with garden on the sunny side of the beautiful Mölltal valley in Kolbnitz, National Park Hohe Tauern. 

The spacious house features sleeping for 6 in 3 bedrooms (no bunk beds/sofa beds), a bathroom with roll top bath, a shower room, 2 toilets, a kitchen with breakfast table and a lounge/diner with corner sofa & dining table. Two bedrooms have balconies with great mountain views, while in summer there is a wood decked terrace where you can enjoy the view with a glass of wine at the table. 

The central location in the Mölltal valley is perfect for summer and winter holidays amongst the lush rivers, lakes and mountains. It has two funiculars for hiking in the mountains, a rafting centre, a horse riding centre, tennis courts, a swimming pool & restaurants/bars, also nearby is Millstätt with its beautiful lake & golf course. 

Accommodation only. Flights can generally be found for between £100-£140 from London airports.

Terms & Conditions

1. Auction organiser's decision is final.
2. Lots are to be accepted as described, are not transferable or refundable and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
3. Emailed lots will be taken as sealed bids to the auction on 14th February 2014. Highest bid (email or in person) wins. Highest email bid will pay no more than £10 over the next highest bid or reserve.
4. Emailed bids closes at midday on Friday 14th February 2014.
5. Holidays include accommodation only. All flights, transport and any other requirements will not be provided.