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Charity hosts special Mad Hatter themed event for families of children with medical complexities

Families were delighted with a very special early Easter treat when Reuben’s Retreat held a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party last weekend (23rd March).

In the charity’s second off-site event for beneficiaries, 30 families with unique and special children were invited to the event. Hosted at the Village Hotel Ashton, party-goers were treated to a magical world of wonder and surprise designed to be enjoyed by the whole family, including those with medical complexities.

Alice and the Mad Hatter himself were in attendance, along with local Bredbury amateur dramatics group ‘ The Drama Department’ who entertained families with a selection of themed songs and entertainment. The Village Hotel Ashton put on a spectacular afternoon tea, with tasty treats which urge guests to ‘Eat Me’ and ‘Drink Me’. 

Making the event accessible for all was top priority, including hiring an accessible mobile toilet from AccessoLOO, which was funded by the Village Hotel Ashton, through its Village Green initiative. The AccessoLOO provided meant the event could have a fully track and hoisted accessible toilet on site, enabling Reuben’s Retreat beneficiaries with multiple complexities to have access to facilities best suited to their needs.

Sensory areas and activities, crafts, face painting, games, Easter eggs, and dancing kept the fun going, while precious memories were made.

Nicola Graham, Reuben’s mummy and founder of Reuben’s Retreat, said: “It’s been wonderful to bring Easter forward a little and share this event with some of our very special families who have children with medical complexities. We often hold events at our Retreat, but having them off-site in a wonderful venue like the Village Hotel Ashton enables us to host more families all together. This gives them the opportunity to make happy memories, in a fully inclusive space and to meet other families in similar circumstances, which is so important.

“We’re so grateful to all the kind hearts who helped to make this happen. Thanks to the Village Hotel Ashton for their support and their generous contribution which funded our vital AccessoLOO, to make the event truly accessible, along with a PA system and microphones. Also a big thank you to Katy at the amazing Balloon Boutique Events. We’re also extremely thankful to the spectacular ‘The Drama Department’ who added so much fun and excitement to the day as an award winning group of young people, gifting their time and showcasing their awesome voices. They were a special surprise for our families and they couldn’t have been more warmly received!”

General Manager David Delaney, at Village Hotel Ashton, said: "It was our absolute pleasure to host the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for Reuben’s Retreat, and seeing so many happy, smiling faces at the event was truly heart-warming. We were also delighted to be able to help with the AccessoLOO via the Village Green initiative. Our Village Green Mission is to have a positive impact on the communities we operate in, both environmentally and socially, whilst acting as a hub for the local area, where people come together to meet and play. This weekend’s event really encompassed that message."

Reuben’s Retreat was founded in August 2012 following the tragic passing of 23-month old Reuben Michael Graham, from an extremely rare brain tumour. Despite crippling grief, Nicola Graham wanted to help other families facing tough situations, offering them a place where they can relax, recharge, remember and rebuild. In the last 11 years the charity has set to work renovating an old cottage hospital in Glossop dating back to 1889, and has touched the lives of over 2,000 individuals.

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