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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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‘You’ve all helped Team Isla to hit £50,000 target’

A MAMMOTH fund-raising campaign in memory of a Seaton tot who died last year has hit its £50,000 target a month early.

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JUMPING FOR JOY: Phil and Kelly Holliday, of Seaton, have hit their £50,000 fund-raising target a month early in memory of their daughter Isla

Spurred on by the courage shown by their four-year-old daughter Isla during her short life, Kelly and Phil Holiday took on a series of gruelling challenges in her honour.

Their aim was to raise as much money as possible for the Rainbow Trust, which helps children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses, and the West Cumberland Hospital’s Fairfield ward in Whitehaven, where she received treatment.

The campaign will culminate in a charity ball at the Washington Central Hotel in Workington on November 1 – the first anniversary of Isla’s death

Kelly, 34, of Calva Road, said: “We have reached our £50,000 target but now we are hoping to reach £60,000 or more.

“I have been trying to do everything I can for 12 months in her memory. After that I will spend time with my family and rest. This has taken over my life.

“I think it was for me more than anything else. I was with her 24/7 and I wanted to give something back to all those people who helped us.”

She has also revealed that she had been surprised by just how the people of West Cumbria have rallied under the Team Isla banner.

She said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support. If it wasn’t for the community we wouldn’t be where we are today. It’s down to them.

“I would like to thank everybody who has helped.”

Initially Kelly had hoped to raise about £20,000 or £30,000 and only upped the target to £50,000 after being inundated with pledges of support.

Moved by the story, hundreds of West Cumbrians took part in challenges alongside her.

Meanwhile, others organised their own events, bumping up the total raised beyond Kelly and Phil’s wildest expectations.

The final figure will not be known until midnight on the evening of the memorial ball, when it is due to be officially announced.

Phil, 40, added: “I think it’s amazing to have done it this quickly with a lot of time still to go.

“Everything we do is driven by Isla. Without her pushing us on, we would have struggled to do all that we have done.

“The more we can raise the better, so we can help other people.”

Phil and friends have also been involved in the C2C and a host of other events.

He said: “I’m doing this for my daughter. She’s pushing me on. She never quit so I’ve got to hold on to that. If she saw this I think she would be proud and amazed.”

Kelly, who had no previous experience of fund-raising on this scale, ran the London Marathon and also took part in the Total Warrior assault course with friends and supporters.

Events organised by others have included a charity golf tournament at Maryport which raised more than £7,000.

A children’s ball, a 24-hour spinathon, coffee mornings and a skydive have all helped reach the target.

Isla died from a rare genetic disease.

At the time she was the oldest girl in the world surviving with Schinzel-Giedion syndrome, a severe and debilitating condition.

Kelly spent every waking hour caring for Isla, who had no mobility, could not talk and suffered from seizures.

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