Tireless fundraisers admitted feeling inspired and motivated after being shown around a leading children’s hospice.
Nick and Elaine Loades and Kyra Welch have raised more than £34,200 after joining forces to organise events including three hugely successful balls at Holkham. All three are bereaved parents who have been supported by East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices .
Nick and Elaine’s daughter, Ellie, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis shortly after birth and died in November 2013, aged 16. She received care at EACH’s former hospice, at Quidenham. She was friends with Kyra, who suffered her own devastating loss when son Kaiden died in October 2021. He had Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), detected after 18 weeks of Kyra’s pregnancy.
Having had open-heart surgery after just three days, he defied doctors by living until he was eight and half. Kyra was supported by EACH and continues to attend monthly bereavement support groups, at The Nook.
As a way of showing their appreciation, Nick, Elaine and Kyra have become dedicated champions of the charity and their three fundraising balls alone – two before lockdown and one in November – raised more than £16,500. The latter was held in memory of both Ellie and Kaiden.
“Fundraising gives me a focus and something to channel my energy into,” said Kyra, from Wicken Green, near Fakenham. “It feels a part of me now and I can’t imagine not doing it. I didn’t know what to expect when we started organising the first ball and was nervous no-one would turn up. As it turns out, we had so much love and support and thankfully that’s continued. It’s been amazing and for last year’s ball we managed to sell 250 tickets. We’ve got another one coming up in November and the same number of tickets were snapped up and sold in just 48 hours.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who gets involved. It makes all the hard work worthwhile and it’s great to support EACH. It’s a charity that has always been there for us because we were supported throughout Kaiden’s life. I can’t imagine doing it without them and, even now, it’s a source of great help because I attend monthly bereavement groups. I also have one-to-one sessions and it’s invaluable.
“I used to feel alone but, thanks to my counselling, don’t anymore. Instead, I feel supported and aware that others are going through the same thing and in the same situation.”
Kyra, Nick and Elaine were recently given a guided tour of The Nook by Community Fundraising Manager Tina Burdett. It was the first time Nick and Elaine, from Colkirk, near Fakenham, had been there as Ellie received her care at Quidenham. The Nook only opened in November 2019.
“Fundraising is our way of giving something back and to have raised as much as we have makes me very happy and proud,” said Nick. “I can’t imagine going through something like we did without EACH. Or rather, I can imagine it and it would be absolutely horrendous. I didn’t know which way to turn at the time but, fortunately, we had so much care and support. Just knowing there’s always someone on the end of a phone made the world of difference. We appreciated it so much.
“There were so many little things, like the hand and foot casts that were taken the day after Ellie died. We treasure them but wouldn’t have them, had it not been for EACH. I was blown away by what I saw at The Nook. It’s an amazing place, bigger than I expected and certainly very different to Quidenham. Coming here has made me feel even stronger about supporting EACH. I’m even more determined and it’s amazing to think our efforts have contributed in some way, to help make the hospice such an incredible place.”
Two cheque presentations recently took place – one with The Countess of Leicester of Holkham, reflecting the money raised from the balls, and one with EACH Community Fundraiser Ellie Miller. The latter was for more than £27,600. Both were received on behalf of Nick, Elaine and Kyra’s respective charities – Ellie’s Love and Kaiden’s Big Fight.
The trio have other fundraisers in the pipeline, including a barn dance in June and a skydive at Beccles in August. Attention then switches to their next ball, at Holkham, in November.
“This year’s ball will be especially poignant as the previous day will mark ten years since we lost Ellie,” said Nick. Kaiden would also have been ten so there are two huge milestones there. I can’t believe where the time’s gone. It’s flown by and doesn’t seem possible.”
Nick, Elaine and Kyra are keen to thank everyone who has supported them with their fundraising. This includes Burn Valley Catering, for all their help previously and for agreeing to be the main sponsor of November’s ball. They are also grateful to Adrian Gladwin, of Diss Event Photography, and Sue Huckle, of Posh Plants, for their continued support, and The Countess of Leicester, who donated the use of the Lady Elizabeth Wing at Holkham. Last year’s main event sponsor was Jem Lake Handmade Kitchens and Interiors.
The prosecco arrival sponsors were Vertex Architecture and Ollie Ridout, from West Norfolk Farriery, and the other event sponsors were Oak Frames Norfolk Ltd, Chequers Financial Planning Ltd, J Walker Carpentry, Hollie Webb Slimming World, Hollie Webb Travel, Hanworth Timber Company Ltd, Economy Plant Hire and Aggregates Ltd, BAM Nuttall, Scribbles Pre-School Group, in North Elmham, Jade Borley Illustrates, Halls Power Equipment Ltd and Halls Property Service Ltd.
Notes to Editors
“We’d heard about EACH and knew they were a fantastic cause that had supported families we knew, but we never thought we’d be the ones that needed them! Sadly, as fantastic as it is, their service will always be required, and every child who needs their help deserves to have it.”
- We care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and support their families.
- We offer families flexibility and control over where they receive their care and support, including where their child dies – at home, in hospital or at one of three hospices at Milton (Cambridge), The Nook (Norfolk) and The Treehouse (Ipswich).