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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 April 2005, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Cancer children to get own Narnia
A holiday home to help children suffering from cancer in Northern Ireland is being built at the foot of the Mourne Mountains.

The 16-bed log cabin is designed to offer young people and their families the opportunity to learn the skills that will help them cope with their illness.

The log cabin is due to be completed in May
The log cabin is due to be completed in May

Due for completion next month, it will be called Narnia after the magical land in the books of Belfast author CS Lewis.

It will have recreational and dining facilities, therapy suites and a quiet room.

Every week in Northern Ireland, two families receive the news that their child has been diagnosed with cancer and it is thought that almost 500 children are living with cancer at any one time.

Gillian Creevy of the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for children believes the centre will be of real benefit to sufferers.

"We wanted a place that would be very different, exciting, (offer) some independent living and importantly, that would blend in with the environment that we're in at the minute," she said.

"Shimna Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and the log cabin idea seemed to fit in all round."

Architect Michael McDowell said it was the only real log cabin of its kind in the province.

Gillian Creevy said they wanted a facility which was different
Gillian Creevy said they wanted a facility which was different

"This is a form of construction which is fairly common in other parts of the world - in America and Scandinavia - but it is most unusual here," he said.

"These pine logs have come all the way from Russia.

"They were brought in from various parts of Russia to a factory in Belarus, then from Belarus they travelled over about a week, through Poland, Germany, Holland, across from Rotterdam to England and eventually to Newcastle."

The Moffat family from Banbridge, County Down, said they were thrilled with the new facility.

Holly Moffat, 12, has twice survived leukaemia, but is now in remission.

Her mother, Michele, said the families would really enjoy the facility.

"I think it will give the older kids space for themselves. They'll be able to have time out, the parents will be able to have time out and everybody will be happy."




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