Joy for Harley Staples’ parents as charity wins £250,000 house
The parents of a little boy who died of cancer are now a massive step closer to their dream of setting up a holiday home for young patients – thanks to you.
The Harley Staples Cancer Trust was yesterday named the winner of a national competition offering a £250,000 house to a charity.
After being whittled down from more than 3,000 entries to the final 24, it was all down to a public vote.
Mercury readers, Kasabian fans, Leicester City supporters and other well-wishers voted in their thousands, making Harley’s charity the clear winner.
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The trust was set up by Harley’s parents, Katherine and Jamie Staples, following the death of their eight-year-old from a rare form of leukaemia in November 2009.
After finding out they had won, at a ceremony held at Kensington Roof Gardens, in London, yesterday, the couple, from Blaby, said they were stunned.
Katherine said: “We’re both completely shell-shocked.
“The last few weeks have been so nerve-wracking. We’d told ourselves we’d done all we could to encourage people to vote, so we’d be happy whatever happened.
“The support we’ve had has just been incredible. Our little Harley just wouldn’t believe it. I just wish he was here to see all this.”
Katherine and Jamie set up the charity in his name and set themselves a target of raising £500,000 to build Harley’s House – a holiday home in Leicestershire to give young cancer sufferers time away from hospitals and treatment.
They have already raised £250,000.
The house they have won is in Andover, Hampshire, and the couple have said they will probably sell it, getting them to their target.
Jamie, 40, said he wanted to thank everyone who took the time to vote for the charity to win the Persimmon Homes competition. He said: “It’s a very emotional day. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.
“What can I say apart from ‘respect’ to every single one of you and your index fingers for voting for us.
“We really can’t thank everyone enough for this, but you can all take credit. Without people voting, we wouldn’t have done it – so thank you, thank you, thank you.”
There are only a handful of holiday homes for youngsters with cancer in the country, and none in the Midlands.
Katherine, pregnant with the couple’s second child, said: “Winning this just makes it so much more achievable. We’ve raised £250,000 in three years, so we probably would have been looking at another three years to raise the rest. This puts us in a much better position.”
Jamie said: “We’re not going to set a timescale as we want to find the perfect spot for Harley’s House.
“It’s Harley’s legacy.”
Harley’s charity made it through to the national final after being chosen by judges as the winner in the North Midlands region.
Persimmon Homes’ North Midlands managing director Paul Hurst said: “When we met Katherine and Jamie, they inspired the whole office – they’re just inspirational people. I think that’s why they got so many votes.”
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