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Friends of Dream-A-Way

Newsletter December 2008

Newsletter December 2008 Registered Charity: 1035426

Making Dreams Come True Dream-A-Way is a local registered Charity dedicated to providing holidays and outings to local people of all ages with special needs. Set up in 1993 with volunteers who receive no payment of any kind, we are very proud of the fact that 99p in every pound raised is used directly to help our special guests. We have raised almost a million pounds and helped thousands of local people. Visit our web site to see what our new event plans are and come along to join in the fun, knowing that your participation is helping others less fortunate.

the many trips she has organised to benefit carers and their cared for. You can follow this very worthwhile campaign every Tuesday in the Express and Echo newspaper. At our Annual General Meeting in July, Dream-A-Way selected some of our greatest supporters to join us as our Ambassadors. Already this group have continued to support the committee and Trustees in many varied ways. We have also increased the number of our vice presidents, with the selection of David Freeman, Brian Bradley, Marc Astley and George Sloan. Dream-A-Way welcomes these new appointments and are honoured that they have agreed to join us

A Message From The Chairman Dream-A-Way had an exceptional year in 2007 and we were delighted to maintain the high standards for 2008. The events have been fantastic and this year has been another record breaking one. Partnerships and working together are important for all successful organisations and Dream-A-Way have proudly joined with several local and successful businesses during the year: Bradleys Group chose Dream-A-Way as their partner charity. As well as increasing our profile and raising extra funds they have supported us with designing and printing.

2008 has already seen an increase in both fundraising and spending … we have proudly supported even more special people during the year. Our caravans have provided a record number of people with an enjoyable week at the superb Haven Holidays Sandy Bay resort. Our sixth caravan was added and has luxury accommodation with spectacular views. Without doubt the highlight of the year for all connected with Dream-A-Way was the award of the QUEEN’S AWARD FOR VOLUNTARY SERVICE 2008 and our subsequent visit to Buckingham Palace for a garden party.

Heavitree Inns, a subsidiary of Heavitree Brewery, selected Dream-A-Way as their charity of the year and set up a fundraising competition between their managed houses …almost £5000 raised already and a whole lot of fun events Dream-A-Way are also extremely proud to have been asked by the Express and Echo newspaper to administer their “We Care” campaign. This campaign is already well established and Gill, Debbie and I are proud to serve on the committee and help Gill with DREAM-A-W AY Newsletter

Dream-A-Way representatives Charlie Thomas, Jeff Merrett, Gill Freeman and Robert Beer setting off to Buckingham Palace (photograph courtesy of Expresss & Echo)

December 2008


It was difficult to select who should represent us at the Palace but I eventually accompanied Bob, Charlie and Gill who have all worked very hard as Dream-A-Way volunteers for many years. It was absolutely brilliant and the fabulous weather made it even more special. We didn't talk to the Queen but she walked a few feet away from us. Prince Charles and Camilla were there, too. It was a huge honour for us all to be invited. I was honoured to lead this Dream-A-Way quartet but even more honoured to spend such a memorable day with such a wonderful character as Charlie Thomas. Despite being in his 80s (apparently) Charlie kept us amused and entertained. He has been an amazing support in the continued success of Dream-A-Way over the years. This award is described as being an MBE for an organisation and Dream-A-Way will endeavour to live up to the recognition the award has given us all. I am immensely proud of our volunteer and unpaid committee who continue to change with ongoing development. Every member works hard, which ensures that Dream-A-Way works within our strict guidelines and continues to move on to greater achievements. They endeavour to help even more special people enjoy special times resulting in special memories! Our Friends group have played an important role in the success of Dream-A-Way and I ask all of you to continue to support us as we strive to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Finally I am pleased that our Friends of Dream-A-Way continues to expand and strengthen with the appointment of Denise as our newest volunteer taking the role of Friends Coordinator. Keep smiling :) Jeff Merrett

Friends News As Jeff said I have taken over the role of Friends Co-ordinator and I will be making contact with all of you in a variety of ways over the next few months. We are conscious that many of our Friends might like to be more involved with the charity and we will make sure that you get the opportunity! We are proud of the fact that we have over 400 Friends of Dream-A-Way and would like to keep in closer contact with you. We would like to include news, information and pictures that you have that would be of interest to other Friends. If you do something amazing or newsworthy let us know! This newsletter is for you! We will also be contacting you in advance of events to see whether you can be involved in our fund-raising in whatever form that you have said you would like to be. For this reason we have decided to introduce an annual membership fee of ÂŁ5 with effect from January 2009. This money will go towards the cost of the newsletters and the annual Friends event (held last year after the AGM) as well as towards funds for holidays. This annual membership renewal will also give us the opportunity to make sure that we have your current contact details and information about the ways in which you would like to be involved. We hope that you will be glad of the opportunity to be linked more closely with this inspirational cause! We appreciate the contribution that you have made to Dream-A-Way and hope that you will continue to be involved in some capacity over the next year. Those who do not wish to be involved through membership can of course

continue to make one-off donations or participate in events whenever they wish. We welcome ideas and comments regarding fund-raising events from all our Friends and look forward to hearing from you. Please send pictures/stories that you would like to share to me on the contact details below or at the beginning of the newsletter. For further information or to talk about Friends, please contact me on 01392 677585 or Denise Fardon

DREAM-A-W AY Newsletter

December 2008


Events Roundup 2008 2008 has been another extremely successful one for all our events, both new and repeated. The first sponsored Dream-a-Weigh weight loss challenge began in January and saw around 60 people enjoying their free gym membership and their new slim figures, raising in excess of £10,000. Kart racing has continued to be an extremely popular evening with thousands of pounds raised from our regular monthly events. Our lady’s golf day at Stover in June and MITIE golf classic at Woodbury Park in September were both amazing successes for the 75 teams who took part, raising nearly £20,000!

Our inaugural Dragon Boat challenge on the Quay on August 31st was a great fun day out and despite some extremely wet bodies, both participants and spectators, everyone had a wonderful time and several thousand pounds were raised. We are all looking forward to repeating this event on August 31st 2009 (Bank Holiday Monday). All of these events depend for their success on the continued support of our many friends for which we are extremely grateful. Please note these dates for future events and check out our web site for up-dates.

Future Events 2008/2009: 29th December 2 pm

June’s Crystal Ball at Sandy Park was a highly enjoyable evening for all 300 guests and raised over £15,000. We are looking forward to our first ever Holly Ball at the end of November in conjunction with the Express and Echo “We Care” Campaign and are hoping for another spectacular evening.


Snow White at the Princess Theatre Torquay.


Karting at Raceworld (near Clyst St Mary Exeter) – new year of karting starts

30 December 7 pm

14 January



26 to 31 January

The Exeter Police and Hospital Players present The Lion, The Witch and The Bedside Table at the Barnfield Theatre Exeter

17th February

Westpoint Ice Show. Bucket collection for the Express and Echo We Care campaign.


20 June

The Dream-A-Way Ball Committee George Sloan (Vice President); Gill Freeman (Events Coordinator); Jeff Merrett MBE (Chairman); Debbie Bent (Administrative Officer); Bob Beer (MCMI Secretary & Vice Chairman); Kate Clarke (Future Spending / Holidays CoOrdinator)

As a result of our partnership with the “We Care” campaign we have been delighted to escort three coach trips to Bicton Park to benefit both clients and carers. DREAM-A-W AY Newsletter

Collectors will be needed. Dream-A-Way Grand MidSummer Ball 2009 at Sandy Park.

2nd July

Lady’s golf day at Stover

31st August

Dragon Boat Racing – Exeter Quay


4 September

Our second mixed netball tournament at the University of Exeter was hugely successful and raised a magnificent total exceeding £1000.

Snow White at the Princess Theatre Torquay.

MITIE/Dream-A-Way Golf Classic at Woodbury Park

We do hope you will be able to join us at some of these events and know that you are helping to make a difference. Gill Freeman

December 2008


Rory, Bradley and the gang. Nicole especially enjoyed her first try at archery this summer. Just the opportunity to spend a week relaxing as a family in comfortable surroundings is worth its weight in gold!

We Love Sandy Bay! Written by Allan, with valuable input from Nicole aged 9 and a bit!

We have enjoyed several holidays to Haven parks over the years. A couple of years ago, I found out about Dream-A-Way during a corporate karting event in Exeter. I contacted them to see if they could help us, as our daughter Nicole was diagnosed with cancer on her spine aged just 4, and the tumour left her confined to a wheelchair. We were fed up with "making do" with inaccessible caravans and holiday homes, and as Nicole gets bigger, it gets harder and harder to lift her, and she craves her independence. Our first trip to Sandy Bay in Exmouth confirmed our suspicion that there must be an easier way of doing things. From the start, Jeff and all of his willing helpers made us feel special, and having ramped access into the caravan and accessible bathroom facilities made it easier for all of us.

Thanks to all at Dream-A-Way for what you do, you make such a difference to so many. Kind Regards Allan, Sara, Nicole & Lauren Biddulph xxxx

Fantastic Day Out At Historic Gardens th

10 June, 2008

Carers enjoyed an expenses-paid treat back in June, a day out to Bicton Park thanks to the Express & Echo newspaper along with Dream-A-Way. A group of carers had a chance to enjoy the 63 acres of gardens, complete with a tour of the East Devon estate's museum, a train ride and lunch. It was a huge success, with many carers enjoying a chance to rest away from their normal routine. A fantastic time was had by all, with superb food, great staff and a brilliant tour of the museum. Our own Gill Freeman, wanted to thank the owners of Bicton Park , "We had incredible support from the Lister family. Valerie Lister helped to make it a really special day for everyone at their beautiful gardens and parkland."

Nicole and Lauren enjoying some time in Exmouth

The Express & Echo' newspaper’s “We Care” campaign aims to improve the lives of carers and the people they care for by raising awareness of the issues affecting them and lobbying on their behalf for better provision from health providers and educational and social services. For more information on Carer’s Week you can go to the website:

East Devon Rural Bike Ride September 2008

Nicole and her sister Lauren love the park, and enjoy meeting new friends, going to the beach, and partying into the evenings with DREAM-A-W AY Newsletter

On a glorious summer morning a group of intrepid Police Officers and support staff December 2008


embarked on a gruelling day-long cycle ride in an effort to raise a large sum of money for Dream-A-Way.

people turned out to cheer and support Dream-A-Way's Dragon Boat Challenge.

The event was organised by Inspector Jim Gale, based at Honiton Police Station to promote the neighbourhood policing team in East Devon and to support the valuable contribution made by the charity Dream-aWay. (photograph courtesy of Expresss & Echo)

The boats rowed over a straight course of 250m in head-to-head races. Each person has one oar and there were 16 rowing and one person keeping the beat on a drum to keep them in time.

Taking a well earned rest outside Axminster Police station before setting off on the final leg to Honiton (photo courtesy of Pulman’s Weekly News)

DAW Press Officer Graham Burch, a relative stranger to the joys of cycling, was ‘talked into’ accompanying DAW Chairman Jeff Merrett on the ride. However, as the event approached Jeff decided he would be better served to act as ‘back up/drinks man’ and swapped his bicycle for a car, leaving Graham and vice president Keith Portlock as the remaining DAW representatives on the team.

"We made an appeal for extra crew in Saturday's Echo and the response was great. We also made an appeal to the Met Office team, rowing as the Wet Office, and they made the weather improve. The winning team was the Wet Office; second was the Mitie Group; and third was a team from Timepiece nightclub.

Starting and finishing in Honiton, they visited Police stations at Ottery St Mary, Sidmouth, Seaton and Axminster covering approximately 49 miles. Cycling across the magnificent East Devon countryside and raising several hundred pounds in the process, everyone had an excellent day.

Winners! - The “Wet Office” team, with Gill Freeman (far left) and Jeff Merrett (far right) (photograph courtesy of Expresss & Echo)

Despite not being able to walk properly for a few days after, Graham was heard muttering that he had ‘enjoyed’ the day immensely and ‘looked forward’ to the event being held again in 2009!

Dragon Boat Challenge August 2008

Exeter Quay was the place to be at the beginning of September, where hundreds of DREAM-A-W AY Newsletter

Dream-A-Way Needs Your Old Mobile Phones! It is estimated that 90 million phones are hiding in drawers and cupboards across the UK, this amounts to 11250 tonnes - almost six times as much as the London Eye! It is also estimated that less than 20% of all unused mobile phones in the UK are currently recycled.

December 2008


Every hour 1712 mobile phones are replaced in the UK. Dream-A-Way can turn your old unwanted mobiles into cash to provide more holidays and trips for our special clients. Simply hand in your phones (any condition accepted) with charger and manuals if you have them (don’t worry if not) at any branch of the Bradleys Group, or post them to DreamA-Way, 2 Lisa Close, Heavitree, Exeter, EX2 5JB.

so please send your pictures and brief details to or post them to: Dream-A-Way, 2 Lisa Close, Heavitree, Exeter, EX2 5JB.

How To Contact Dream-A-Way Write To Us (including donations) The Secretary, Dream-A-Way 2 Lisa Close, Heavitree, Exeter EX2 5JB

Dream-A-Way is also happy to receive postage stamps, foreign currency and toner cartridges, which again can be turned into cash. Please contact us to arrange collection or send to the above address.

Phone Us

Or maybe you have an item that we can use as a raffle prize? If so please let us know.

Chairman: Jeff Merrett MBE

01392 823998 / 07796 442144

Fundraising : Gill Freeman

07979 854203

Friends Coordinator: Denise Fardon

01392 677585

Email Us

Hungry Elephant Helps Us! Dream-A-Way is registered with, which means we receive commission on any sales people make by shopping through the adverts on this site. Simply visit the website, enter the Dream-AWay organisation code ‘DAW1’ and then we receive a commission when you shop via ‘Hungry Elephant’ partner organisations such as eBay and Amazon.

Have You Visited The Dream-A-Way Website Lately? Take a trip to to catch up on all the work we have been doing to help our special clients and a run-down of our future events including the forthcoming Holly Ball, our recent QAVS award, to see how you can help, and much more!

General enquiries:

General enquiries / Donations: Contact our Chairman, Jeff Merrett MBE:

For fundraising enquiries - Gill:

For Friends enquiries - Denise:

Holiday enquiries: Please ensure you have read the information in the holidays section of our website

Press stories:

Website feedback:

Dream-A-Way Needs Your Stories! Have you had a Dream-A-Way holiday? Have you organised a fundraising event? We’d like to update our website with stories of success, DREAM-A-W AY Newsletter

December 2008



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