Evan Williams died five years ago, just weeks before his 13th birthday. This year Evan would have turned 18 so, to mark his landmark birthday, his family decided to throw an enormous party to raise money for Hope House.
Mum Jane explains: “The party was Evan’s sister Katie’s idea and it just grew and grew from there. The actual party was in August, but friends and family all came forward to help and to arrange lots of other events too from cake sales to dress down days.”
Katie and four school friends also did a sponsored walk – climbing Moel Famau not once but twice on what was one of the hottest days of the year!
All the money raised was added to an online Tribute Fund that Jane set up to raise money for Hope House. The total now stands at almost £19,000, which has all been used to help support other families suffering the loss of their child.
Explains Jane: “Evan had no illness at all. He was fit and healthy and he simply went to bed and died in his sleep. I found him when I went to wake him in the morning. It was a huge shock for us all.
“The doctor referred us to Hope House for bereavement counselling and I can honestly say if we hadn’t had Hope House I don’t know what we would have done.”
Katie, now 14, agrees: “It is somewhere I can come and talk about whatever I want to. You can shut the door and say whatever you want and it makes you feel better.”
The help that Hope House provides will continue for as long as the family find it useful – something that Evan’s dad Pete thinks is really important.
“Evan, like Katie, was my world. We had just finished doing up a trail bike together and the day before he died Evan had just got a helmet so he could ride it,” recalls Pete.
“He had a wonderful sense of humour and was funny, loving and compassionate. I remember when he was younger and a family member was in hospital I gave him the choice of a day at the beach or visiting them and he chose to go to the hospital because that was the way he was.
“The support we all received at Hope House was phenomenal, through some very difficult times. Katie particularly has received some brilliant help and support and to see her able to stand up infront of 300 people at Evan’s party and sing was just the best thing.”
As well as raising funds to enable Hope House to support other families whose child has died, the Williams family have provided outdoor classrooms for Evan’s former schools Bwlchgwyn Primary School and Ysgol Clywedog in his memory.
Jane is now planning a skydive next year and the whole family is volunteering to help at forthcoming Hope House Fundraising Events.
“Evan died so young, but we were so proud of him and so was everyone else who knew him. We really wanted to say Thank You to Hope House because I don’t know what we would have done without them,” she added.
“Having an online Tribute Fund where we can see how much money we have raised and leave messages and post photos and light candles helps to keep his memory alive and is really comforting too.”
Jane would like to thank the friends and family who helped organise Evan’s 18th Birthday Fundraiser including: Steph Jones, Nicky Roberts, Clare Powell, Clare Whiting, Hannah Jones, Lauren Jones, Claire Davies, DJ Thomas Butchers, Piggin Delicious, Proof of Age, Bethan Thomas, Hannah Roberts, Sue Moon, Wendy Heard, John Roberts, Jayne Jones, Sarah Darlington, Darryl Davey and Carole Davey. Also Ysgol Clywedog, Wrexham County Borough Council, Bwlchgwyn CP School, and Castell Alun High School for their additional fundraising events and Santander for match funding.
You can see Evan’s Tribute Fund in aid of Hope House at www.evan-williams.muchloved.com and make a donation online.