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Clare raised £664 from her Dine at Mine meal for Helen & Douglas House on Saturday 11th August. Clare’s 5 year old son Josh, who has brain damage was caused by lack of oxygen at birth, has been coming to Helen & Douglas House for respite care since September 2013. Clare is appealing for people to swap a meal out for a meal in, with their guests donating what they would have spent on a meal to Helen & Douglas House on Saturday 13th October.

Clare holds a fundraising mini-festival called ‘Mathias-fest’ every year in aid of Helen & Douglas House and this year she made it into a Dine at Mine meal for 80 friends and family in a marquee in the garden and a bar in the garage, with 5 families camping overnight. Some guests were local including Josh’s special friends from sensory groups as well as friends from Essex, Wales, and Bristol.

They had a BBQ running all afternoon, with lots of garden games, a blow-up pool, and a bouncy castle but the main fundraiser this year was their tea-time pizza making. They borrowed a pizza oven from some friends and provided dough and toppings and then everyone created their pizzas for a donation over 5 hours. Friends also created 3 home brew beer barrels, which people donated money for.

You can choose what time of day to hold your Dine at Mine meal – breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea or dinner and whether to invite friends, family or work colleagues. Your Dine at Mine meal could be a small gathering at your house for lunch, a girls’ night with beauty treatments or a black-tie dinner at your village hall. You can prepare the meal yourself or ask your guests to bring a dish.

Find out more about Dine at Mine
The home-from-home environment at the hospice helps families create precious memories during their child’s short life. Dine at Mine is a way of bringing your families, friends or work colleagues together to smile, laugh, catch-up and have fun together just like they do when they visit the hospice to create wonderful memories.

Clare said ‘Dine at Mine is a great way to fundraise. It gets friends and family together, enjoying a good catch up while helping raise funds and awareness for such an amazing cause.’

‘Helen & Douglas House has been such a massive support for Josh and us as a family. The outreach nurses and doctors have provided invaluable emotional and medical guidance, as they view Josh as a whole person, not just his condition, and know him and our family so well. There are very few places where Josh and his young brothers, Tom and Jake, can come and play together, where they all have fun – all 3 boys love spending time at Helen & Douglas House. The charity also provides much-needed respite so that we can get some rest and spend quality time with Josh’s siblings.’

We would like to say a huge thank you to Clare for organizing a Dine at Mine meal and all her guests who were so generous, which means we can be there for families like hers to provide respite, symptom control and end-of-life care.

Could you get together for a meal to help local terminally ill children?

Don’t go out, stay in and Dine at Mine to raise money for Helen & Douglas House. As a charity, we need to raise £3.6m this year and we cannot do this without supporters holding fundraising events like Dine at Mine.

Find out more about this fundraising campaign