Horsham twins, 9, launch summer of fundraising after family trauma

Two nine-year-old Horsham twins have embarked on a summer of fundraising for a charity which helped their family when they were born prematurely.
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Kitty and Jack Timson, who live with their mums Hayley and Heather Timson in Southwater, are crafting and selling their wares in support of Ronald McDonald House, a charity providing free ‘home away from home’ accommodation for families with children in hospital.

The twins were due to be born on Christmas Day 2013 but arrived just 26 weeks with Jack weighing 2lb 1oz and Kitty just 2lbs.

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Mum Hayley, a 48-year-old retired police officer, said: “It was a big shock to have the twins so early but initially, they were doing OK. When they were six weeks old, however, Jack got some bowel complications, and we were transferred to Brighton Hospital where he had a life-saving operation to remove 50 per cent of his bowel.

TwinsTwins
Twins

“We were living in Redhill in Surrey at the time, around 45 minutes’ drive away from Brighton. That’s why we were so relieved when we were offered lovely, free accommodation at the Ronald McDonald House.”

The eight-bedroom house is opposite the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in the centre of the city and provides free, comfortable accommodation to families with children and babies being treated at the hospital. The house also runs a further 10 bedrooms on the top floor of the children’s hospital, meaning they can accommodate a total of 18 families in homely ensuite rooms for the duration of their child’s hospital stay.

Describing the house as a ‘sanctuary’, Hayley said: “We stayed for four months in total. Kitty was well enough to be discharged before Christmas, but Jack was an inpatient until mid-January 2014.

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"Staying at the Ronald McDonald House meant that Kitty could be with us, and we were all together as a family. It was like a home away from home. The staff and volunteers, who became our ‘extended family’, were just incredible.

Kitty and Jack Timson with their mums Hayley and Heather Timson. Photo contributedKitty and Jack Timson with their mums Hayley and Heather Timson. Photo contributed
Kitty and Jack Timson with their mums Hayley and Heather Timson. Photo contributed

"The facilities meant that we could do our own cooking and laundry and live as normally as possible, all while being just a stone’s throw away from our critically ill baby.”

Hayley said they also found solace in connecting with other families staying at the house, adding: “We shared stories, offered encouragement, and found strength in one another. The sense of community created within the walls of the Ronald McDonald House was immeasurable, giving us hope and reminding us that we were not alone.”

Kitty and Jack, who are pupils at Castlewood Primary School in Southwater, turn 10 this year and want to mark their special birthday by raising money for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK.

Hayley said: “Kitty is the brainchild and driving force behind the fundraising campaign. I do a lot of fundraising myself and apparently inspired by me, she was keen to give something back to the charity that did so much to support our family. So, she and Jack are planning to run a stall at various events, selling crafts they’ve made and doing little workshops to show other children how to make their jewellery. We’ve been doing everything from sewing and loom bands to rock painting and mobile making. They’re really excited and we’re just so proud of them.”

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