Tragic teenager’s dream takes major step forward

A teenager’s dream to help young cancer patients and their families has taken a major step forward five years after her death.

Jessica Robson, who lived in Cramlington, was just 14 when she was diagnosed with alveolar sarcoma – an extremely rare form of cancer. Despite her illness, Jessica started a charity from her sickbed to help other teenagers and children affected by the disease.Jessica Robson

Her dream was to raise enough money to build a lodge in the Northumberland countryside which would be used by families for respite breaks.  She died just after her 18th birthday, but her family has continued her work.  Supported by friends, neighbours, Jessica’s former school and numerous North East businesses, work on the three-bedroom lodge has now started.

It is being built at Henshaw near Haltwhistle on land bought by Jessica’s parents – Julie and Trevor – with money from the sale of their house.

“We are so proud of Jess and so pleased that her dream is becoming a reality,” said Julie.  “We have some lovely memories of spending precious time together – at a caravan on the coast – where we could try to forget about hospitals and treatment.  That inspired Jess and has been the major driving force of all our fund-raising efforts and we would like to thank everybody who has donated money to help us fulfil her dream.”

The Robsons have also been supported by a number of consultants who have provided their expertise – often on a pro-bono basis – on planning, design, highways, landscaping, drainage, ecology and site investigation. They are Pegasus Group, Sadler Brown Architecture, MDesign, Biodiverse Consulting, Absolute Civic Engineering, WYG, GSM and Elliott Consulting.Julie Robson, centre, with the team who have made Jess' dream a reality

Paul Carroll, of Sadler Brown Architects, said: “”We very luckily been involved with the project throughout the design phases and now that planning permission is secured we all hugely look forward to the excitement of the construction stage and the final delivery of Jess and the family’s vision.”

Sandra Manson, Senior Director at Pegasus Group said: “It’s been a pleasure to support the charity through the journey to realise Jessica’s aspirations to provide respite care for families going through such a difficult time. The support of the various technical team members has been invaluable and we look forward to seeing the project completed on the ground.

“Jessica’s family have been wonderful for the team to work with, and we all wish them the very best in carrying on with Jessica’s dreams.”

The lodge is due to be finished by late October.

How the lodge at Henshaw will look