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Inspirational Reece Puddington’s Retreat Seasalter beach hut deathwish a step closer

By Lowri Stafford

Donations to buy a beach hut for seriously ill children have doubled since the funeral for Reece Puddington, who made it his final wish before his death.

The inspirational 11-year-old launched Reece’s Retreat before he died on Tuesday, May 20, six years after he was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

The £30,000 venture will fund the purchase of a hut along West Beach in Seasalter, where Reece played as a child, for families to enjoy a day by the sea.

Reece Puddington bravely battled cancer
Reece Puddington bravely battled cancer

Mourners were encouraged to donate to the project at his funeral, which saw hundreds of people cram town centre streets to pay their last respects.

Reece’s mum Kay says the current total stands at just more than £3,000, with more money set to roll in throughout the week, doubling the amount before the funeral.

Kay, of Freemans Close, said: “It would be lovely to see the money coming in not just because it is a lovely idea, but it because it also helps people.

“It’s something Reece thought would happen and the only shame is that he never got to go in it himself.”

If the full £30,000 cannot be raised, his family say they will look at other options to make Reece’s Retreat become reality.

The funeral cortege for Reece Puddington, with Jack Sparrow coffin
The funeral cortege for Reece Puddington, with Jack Sparrow coffin

Kay added: “We chose West Beach because he was used to walking and cycling around the area, but we know there may be cheaper huts in other areas so it is just about keeping our options open.”

The project was set up soon after Reece published a bucket list, which included meeting his favourite actor Johnny Depp, a Hobbit House in his back garden, a Wetherspoons breakfast and his own bedroom.

After an amazing show of support from grief-stricken followers, he almost ticked off the entire list, including a bonus video message from Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.

More than 37,000 people across the globe followed Reece’s popular Facebook blog with many posting comments, commending him as an inspiration.

Kay says she has received abuse over fundraising
Kay says she has received abuse over fundraising

Kay also revealed her emotions a month after her son’s funeral as hundreds across Whitstable dressed in red and blue to say farewell to Reece.

She said: “It’s still so fresh in our minds.

“It was so humbling to see people wearing red and blue in the town on the day. The bulk of people we didn’t even know.

“It says how much he was loved. It was very emotional.”

To donate to Reece’s Retreat visit the Facebook page or make a donation through the Beltinge and District Funeral Service in Reculver Road, Herne Bay.

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