Is This the Way to Hopton for crooner Tony Christie
A TEENAGER suffering from a brain tumour enjoyed her holiday to Hopton so much, she raised �24,000 for a luxury caravan to help other families in the same position.
Stacey Johnson, 19, from Hertfordshire, has won a host of awards and the admiration of celebrities like Kim Wilde and Noel Edmonds, who have helped raise the profile of her charity kisses4kids.
Seventies crooner Tony Christie, who enjoyed a comeback in 2005 thanks to Peter Kay’s Comic Relief version of Is this the way to Amarillo, officially opened the caravan on Wednesday ahead of his appearance at Lowestoft’s Marina Theatre.
Stacey who was diagnosed with a brain tumour aged 14, is known as the “children’s champion”, having raised thousands of pounds to improve the lot of teenagers with cancer while undergoing debilitating treatment herself.
So far, more than �35,000 has been raised through fun events and tombolas – providing a nurse-free summerhouse and feel-good garden at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, where Stacey is a patient and sending other sick children on treat trips.
This week, Stacey and her mum, Sharon, 43, travelled to Hopton for the official opening of the luxury, eight-berth caravan, partly paid for by the National Lottery, at Hopton Holiday Village.
Mrs Johnson said: “We bought her to Hopton for a holiday in-between treatments, and she enjoyed it so much she wanted the same for other families. When a child is sick, often one parent has to stay at home, leaving just one breadwinner, and the first thing to go is holidays. But it is just so nice to get away from Friday to Monday and to have a bit of normality away from the hospital. What is also nice is that, if you have other children, they can go off and play.
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“Stacey said it would be so nice to be able to send people away for a even a few days, to breathe the sea air.”
Mrs Johnson said singer Tony Christie was the perfect showbiz name to mark the opening because he knew about Stacey’s plight through a family link and, by a quirk of fate, was in the area at the right time.
Referrals for the holiday home will be passed to kisses4kidss from nurses nationwide and also Clic Sargent, the children’s cancer charity.
l For more information visit http://kisses4kids.org.uk