In 2015, the Home from Home accommodation at The Walton Centre opened, following a successful fundraising appeal spearheaded by David Fairclough and family in memory of his wife Jan. The appeal was generously supported by individuals and organisations from the local community and beyond and donations to The Walton Centre Charity continue to fund the facility to ensure it can be provided to families free of charge.

The centre provides a place for relatives to stay while their loved ones are undergoing urgent or emergency treatment, rather than having to travel back and forth to their homes, sometimes at a moment’s notice and distressing and emotional times in their lives. 

One of the first families to stay was Lee and Noah Hawksworth – while Noah was just a few weeks old.

Maria Hawksworth was diagnosed with a brain tumour while 33 weeks pregnant and delivered Noah three weeks later as the tumour was dangerously close to her carotid artery. Two months after that, the tumour was removed in a 15-hour operation at The Walton Centre.

Her husband Lee and baby son Noah stayed on site in the brand-new Home from Home accommodation while Maria recovered from surgery.

Maria said: “Sometimes in the morning when I was a bit down I’d say to the nurse ‘can I ring my husband to come over a bit sooner’ and she’d say ‘yes, no problem’ and he could just run over with Noah and I could have a few minutes with them.

“Without Home from Home it would have meant that Lee was travelling three hours each day to see me. The Home from Home gave Noah and Lee somewhere to rest and just knowing they were on site made me feel tonnes better. - Maria Hawksworth, patient 

Lee added: “We had Noah with us and Maria’s mum and we had the opportunity to sit in the Home from Home lounge and have a cup of tea, watch the television, just take our minds off things, being near was really important - but we didn’t have to wander the corridors for 15 hours.

The accommodation was opened the same year by HRH Princess Anne, pictured left, meeting Noah and mum Maria. Noah is now seven years old, and the family still remembers those days at The Walton Centre.

Lee continued: “It brings back a real mixture of feelings. On the one hand it only feels like yesterday and then the other it feels like a lifetime ago! The genuinely kind nature of the staff in Home from Home and ITU is the one thing that really stands out – their humanity made everything easier.

“I can’t imagine how we’d have coped without Home from Home. For me and Noah to be literally 200 yards away from Maria was fantastic. It should be standard practice across the NHS!”

“We thank The Walton Centre from the bottom of our hearts.”

Support our Home from Home accommodation unit

Our Home from Home fund helps families stay together when their loved ones are undergoing life-saving treatment at the hospital. A £20 donations funds a one night stay, £60 funds a three night stay and £100 funds a five night stay.

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