Vicky Meets… Natalie Stoneham and Loui Hassall, fundraisers for Minnie’s Broken Heart

Vicky Meets… Natalie Stoneham and Loui Hassall, fundraisers for Minnie’s Broken Heart
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Why you have organised an event to raise money for Minnie’s Broken Heart?

Loui: Minnie’s family live near me. Minnie is six years old and I have known her since she was a baby. Unfortunately, Minnie has a very rare and severe form of congenital heart disease: Ebstein’s anomaly. She is terminally unwell. Her only hope is pioneering surgery in the USA. Dr Da Silva has agreed to operate on Minnie, but the costs involved will be at least £140,000. Her family is fundraising hard and have so far raised over £50,000. All children are special, but Minnie really is a gorgeous little girl. Her life is so limited, but she stays so positive. Natalie and I really wanted to do something to support Minnie and her family.

How did the idea of Minnie’s Cake Sale come about?

Natalie Stoneham and Loui Hassall, fundraisers for Minnie’s Broken HeartNatalie Stoneham and Loui Hassall, fundraisers for Minnie’s Broken Heart
Natalie Stoneham and Loui Hassall, fundraisers for Minnie’s Broken Heart
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Natalie: I’d previously been involved in a Macmillan Coffee Morning at The Lighthouse fish & chip shop in Parklands. Parklands residents have a great community spirit and they love a bake off, so I asked The Lighthouse if we could hold a cake sale for Minnie. They are amazing people and agreed immediately. Since then so many people, organisations and businesses have offered to bake cakes and donate raffle prizes. It’s absolutely blown our minds! Now people all over the area are getting involved and what was a simple cake sale has grown into so much more.

How has the event expanded?

Natalie: The motorcyclists of Whiteways are coming to do a slow lap around the estate, many of them wearing purple tutus – Minnie’s favourite colour. The Mayor is coming and we have a giant raffle, refreshments and lots more. Minnie and her family will be there, including Minnie’s sister Luna. Luna is a little star. She will be running competitions including ‘Guess the Name of the Teddy’. Tabby’s Kitchen has donated a massive Victoria Sponge, which has already been purchased for £100 by a really generous gentleman. We met Morgan Hyde, and also Andy Chapman, another wonderful supporter, as a result of sharing Minnie’s story. Jumping Jacks have produced our banners for free, as well as donating a raffle prize, and we have had some heart shaped ‘Minnie’s Team’ keyrings donated that will be on sale on the day.

Has the response surprised you?

Loui: When you think about the cost of living, and the fact that we’ve just had Christmas, people’s generosity is just fantastic. It’s made us cry at times.

Will there be other events to support Minnie?

Natalie: Minnie’s family is organising all sorts of fundraising events that will happen in the next few months. These will be well publicised, so there will be other opportunities to support Minnie. Please keep an eye on Instagram (@minniesbrokenheart) and Facebook (Minnies Broken Heart) for details. To donate, visit Minnie’s Cake Sale & Fun Day will take place Saturday 24 February from 11am at The Lighthouse, Parklands, Chichester, PO19 3LA. All welcome.