by Jenny Minard
BBC Berkshire Reporter
An artist's impression of what The Bluebells holiday home will look like
It was one boy's dream to create a holiday home for children with serious illness.
And now that dream is about to become a reality.
Sebastian Gates died from cancer in 2003. He was nine years old. Before he died he launched a campaign to raise money to create a place for families to share holidays together.
It's taken six years - but building work has finally begun on The Bluebells in North Waltham.
Jane Gates, who set up Sebastian's Action Trust, oversees work at the site
Sebastian's family have worked tirelessly to raise the money to build a complex of self catering apartments.
They set up the charity Sebastian's Action Trust based in Sunninghill.
The vision was to build the house where more than 100 families will be able to visit.
A further 500 children will be able to access the facilities.
Sebastian's mother Jane explained why Sebastian was so passionate about the cause.
"Sebastian battled for two and a half years with cancer and during that time he experienced something of a rollercoaster.
"Lots of holidays had to be cancelled at short notice and he realised the impact on his family and how difficult it was for us to have a normal life.
"When he was going down to theatre for his very last operation, he saw that I'd been reading about another family who tragically their child had died.
Sebastian set up a holiday home campaign before he died, aged nine
"They bought a holiday chalet in the New Forest and they made this available to families with seriously ill children.
"He thought this was a fantastic idea but the problem was it wasn't open at that time of year, it was December, so it wasn't available and it was also quite small.
"He said: 'What we need is something brand spanking new and it should be open all year around'.
"He launched that campaign, sadly, 12 days before he died, and we have worked ever since to make sure that wish is a reality."
Jane explained what the facilities will be like at The Bluebells which will be opened in May 2011.
"Each family will have a four-bedroom apartment so there is plenty of space. There will be a sense of privacy.
"They will have their own front door and they won't have anyone walking in. They can choose who comes to stay with them.
"There will be an indoor pool, spa, games room, cinema room, and multi-sensory room.
"There will be bags of space - a big garden outside and secret meadow."
Jane explained what it means to families to be able to take a break.
"It's important to have some opportunities to spend time with family and loved ones away from hospitals, the stresses of treatment and the uncertainty of living with your child's condition.
"Often holidays have to be cancelled at the last minute and the pattern of normal family life is disrupted.
"Being able to go to The Bluebells for a break will give families a chance to simply be together, to enjoy the facilities on site and focus on what matters most.
"The holiday home being so close to the medical facilities that the family needs will give them the security to be able to leave home.
Work starts on the site in North Waltham
"But they know that if they need to access medical support, it's not far away.
"Above all it's the chance to feel normal and enjoy some elements of life that are really difficult to capture when your child has been diagnosed with a really serious condition.
"It's about getting back to being a family. Giving all siblings the chance to be together and for them to know they are all special. Often when you have a sick child they get pushed to the side.
The holidays at Bluebells will be free of charge as Jane says the charity recognises there are huge financial pressures on families who have children with serious illness.
"We're trying to alleviate some of the stresses that families in these desperate times often find traumatic," she said.
For more information go to
Sebastian's Action Trust.