A small children’s charity with a big heart is celebrating its 10th birthday this month.

Care for Kids North Devon volunteers at the Barnstaple 10k. Picture: CFKCare for Kids North Devon volunteers at the Barnstaple 10k. Picture: CFK

Care for Kids North Devon is marking its 10th anniversary by hosting an awareness event on Barnstaple High Street this Saturday, October 26.

There will be a colouring competition for the children and an opportunity to find out how to host your own Mince Pie Mingle fundraising event.

The charity was established in 2009 by four trustees, Jacky Massos, Fran Greenaway, Jenny Birch and Jo Dunbavin.

Having worked in children's medical care, or in Jacky's case experienced what it was like to care for a very poorly child of her own, the four trustees identified a need for support for local families.

Due to North Devon's rural location, very sick children are treated in the specialist children's hospitals of Bristol and beyond.

The cost of travel and staying overnight for long periods of time puts extra stress and financial pressure on these families.

Care for Kids North Devon was created to help relieve this worry. To date the charity has supported 105 local families by distributing grants to a total of £103,000.

Over the years the charity's work has expanded and now includes improvement work at the Caroline Thorpe children's ward at North Devon District Hospital.

Local fundraising has supported a new parent's room, play room refurbishment, a 3D pain distraction unit and treats at Christmas. Last year the charity funded a £16,000 transformation of the cubicle 5 isolation treatment room.

It is now working towards the refurbishment of an individual bedroom on the ward, which it hopes to complete in 2020.

Jacky experienced first-hand how difficult life could be caring for a very poorly child.

Her son Jason was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of four and she spent three years travelling to Bristol hospital. Her experience inspired her to become a trustee of the charity, a role which she continues to enjoy today.

She said: "I can't quite believe it's been 10 years. So much has happened since 2009 and we've had so much support from local families, businesses and volunteers.

"Together we've raised over £286,000, which is amazing. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to our work over the years, here's to many more."

More information about Care for Kids North Devon is available at www.careforkidsnorthdevon.org.uk, including links to donate to the 'Give More for Cubicle 4' campaign and details on hosting a Mince Pie Mingle fundraising event.