The Oakley Waterman Caravan Foundation is an organisation focused on giving families with children who have life-threatening illnesses some respite throughout their treatment. To provide a place where they can stay and enjoy some quality time with the whole family.
The Oakley Waterman Caravan Foundation was started by Dave and Lorraine Waterman from Gosport shortly before their six-year old son Oakley died of a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomysarcoma in 2005. It was while enjoying precious time together staying in a caravan at Church Farm Holiday Village at Pagham near Chichester that Oakley announced his wish.
He wished they could purchase a caravan at Church Farm, which he loved so much, so it could also be used by other children, who are suffering with similar life threatening illnesses.
Enabling them to enjoy time away from the normal daily routine and hospital scene, to enjoy a short break with entertainment for the family. So the parents agreed to their sons only wish and with the help of some friends a caravan was purchased at the site in 2005. In 2007 a second caravan was purchased at another Haven site overlooking the sea at devon Cliffs near Exeter.
In 2002 after many doctors and hospital visits and not getting any answers, finally an answer came which no one could prepare themselves for. Oakley was diagnosed with Rhabdomysarcoma when a tumour was found in his pelvis. After an operation, chemotherapy and radiotherapy he was in remission. However, eventually the tumour returned. In 2005 the tumour was found to be inoperable and the foundation was established to fulfil Oakley’s wish to stay at Church Farm and for the other children to benefit from spending time there.
Dave Waterman, ex Portsmouth FC Player, who has since retired from his football careers says ‘Running the foundations has helped a difficult situation. it gives you a warm glow to think there are so many kind-hearted people out there. Oakley would be so proud of everybody who has helped us.”