Two “outstanding” Jewish volunteers who were shortlisted for a Jewish News Night of Heroes Award earlier this year have been honoured by the prime minister for their work providing respite breaks for families.
Camp Simcha supporters Sam and Lee Bladon were this week given a Points of Light Award by Theresa May for their launch last October of Evie’s Night Owls, an at-home overnight respite service supporting parents whose children require round-the-clock care.
The initiative was named after the couple’s daughter, Evie, who was born in 2012 with severe brain damage, and was given 48 hours to live, but her parents’ devoted care led to her reaching her third birthday before passing away in November 2015.
They launched Evie’s Night Owls with £10,000 raised from selling girls’ party dresses in London and Manchester, which were donated by a local business. The money went to Camp Simcha, the Jewish charity that supported the couple.
In a personal letter, the prime minister told the couple, who live
in Mill Hill: “This work is a remarkable way of honouring Evie’s memory and you should be very proud of what you have achieved.”
Neville Goldschneider, chief executive of Camp Simcha, said the charity was “absolutely thrilled that the prime minister has recognised Sam and Lee Bladon’s hard work, strength and relentless dedication to making the service a reality”.
He added: “All of us are grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know their beautiful little Evie and we are humbled by the way Sam and Lee have taken such heartbreak and created something that will help so many others in Evie’s memory.”
The couple said the award was “unexpected”, adding: “After we lost our beautiful daughter Evie, we wanted to find a way to honour and keep her memory alive, by helping others who are facing similar battles.
“We set up the Evie’s Night Owls committee to raise funds for an expansion of Camp Simcha’s respite service. Camp Simcha was there for us, so it’s fitting that we are able to establish Evie’s legacy through them.”