Brave Sam Merrick’s family ask for help in keeping charity going

From left, Sam Merrick with his brothers Liam, 10, Kiran, 11, and dad Paul 
Picture: Ian Hargreaves
From left, Sam Merrick with his brothers Liam, 10, Kiran, 11, and dad Paul Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Portsmouth NHS organisation promotes Stay Well This Winter campaign

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A CHARITY is making an appeal for people to give some vital support.

Sam’s Haven, set up by the parents of Sam Merrick, offers respite holidays for families and children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses.

Eight-year-old Sam, of Denmead has spent a large part of his life in Queen Alexandra Hospital.

He was born prematurely and has chronic lung disease and an immuno-deficiency disorder. Sam’s health has recently taken a turn for the worse and he is spending more and more time in Great Ormond Street.

As a result, his parents Paul and Louise are dedicating their time solely to him, meaning they need extra help with the charity.

Previously, Louise was responsible for the paperwork and other day-to-day jobs required to maintain the charity, and Paul can no longer attend and help out at events.

Louise said: ‘Sam’s having a lot of change to his medical care, and to some of his meds, because as he gets older he will have more control over them.

‘Also this winter has not been kind to his lungs – and so we’ve had a lot of change happen at once.

‘Sam is our priority but we don’t want the charity to suffer so we decided to take a step back.’

The charity has enough funding to last into 2018, but is looking to the future.

Treasurer Julie Middle said: ‘Sadly, we can no longer guarantee that Sam will be able to attend every event.

‘We have had many volunteers come and go over the years, but if people are able to do any sort of voluntary work for us, that would be fantastic – it doesn’t have to be loads of work, even just a couple of hours helping out at an event would be brilliant.’

The charity is also in need of some support in fundraising to help keep them afloat.

Julie added: ‘We still are fundraising as much as we can, and we’re trying to grow the charity.

‘The number of families we have been able to help out over the years has steadily increased. We’d love to keep that going, so the financial aspect is really important.

‘Generally speaking, for one of our respite holidays it costs around £500 to put a family there, so we’re looking for companies or any generous donors to support us.

‘Whether it is just a little donation or a charity fundraiser, anything people can do to help is highly appreciated.’

‘We have loads of summer fetes and other events that we could desperately do with some support in; some days we end up stretching ourselves a bit thin or struggling at the events.’

Sam is former News Youth Awards winner, having been named the Overall Star of the Year in 2014.

And in October he met Prince Harry when he was presented with an Inspirational Child award at a ceremony hosted by the children’s charity WellChild, of which Harry is a patron.

Anyone who would like to help can email julie.samshavenqah@gmail.com.