A charity inspired by a brave Barnstaple teenager has raised an amazing £130,000 in less than five years to help other families affected by illness and bereavement.

The new Everything Ellie lodge at Stowford Farm Meadows. Picture: Everything Ellie The new Everything Ellie lodge at Stowford Farm Meadows. Picture: Everything Ellie

Everything Ellie was set up by the family of Ellie Easton after the Pilton Community College pupil lost her battle with leukaemia in March 2015, aged 16.

Ellie would have been 21 on September 3 this year.

The charity began by renting a beach hut at Saunton Sands for exclusive use by families who had been hit by bereavement or life-limiting illness.

Then in April this year it was also able to buy a lodge at Stowford Farm Meadows near Combe Martin for families with children that have a life-limiting illness to give them a holiday as a respite break.

The Everything Ellie beach hut at Saunton Sands. Picture: Everything EllieThe Everything Ellie beach hut at Saunton Sands. Picture: Everything Ellie

The charity was created by Ellie's parents Justeen and Chris Easton and her sister Rhiane, with support from family and friends.

Founding trustee and secretary Rhiane, who works for the Gazette's parent company Archant, said the local response to the charity had been fantastic.

She said: "The community of North Devon have been amazing in their support and all of the trustees have been astounded at how much support we have received.

"Already, 15 families have stayed in the lodge or booked it since it opened this year and the charity has also paid for 20 families to have short breaks.

"One of the reasons we chose to have the lodge there is because as a family we used to go down there with Ellie and have a family holiday and there's lots to do down there.

"So if the child is unable to get out that day because they feel poorly, the other children can use the on-site facilities."

The Saunton sands beach hut has recently been replaced with a new one built by Lodgico with timber donated by Travis Perkins and Jewsons donated internal panelling and shelving, fitted by Danney Manley and painted free of charge by Phil Grant.

Other support locally has come from Portmore Golf Park, which hosts the charity's winter ball each year, that usually sells out within 24 hours.

The Corner House in Barnstaple charity football team visited the lodge this year and donated £2,758.60 from their charity match because they said the cause was so special.

The Bull and Bear and The Custom House in Barnstaple donate 25 pence from every child's meal sold on their premises. There has also been huge support from Pilton, Park, West Buckland, Petroc and Sticklepath schools.

And a draw to decide what organisation would get the three places on the Barnstaple Town Football Club strip this season saw Everything Ellie chosen by the winners for all three places.

Find out more about the charity at http://www.everythingellie.co.uk or the Everything Ellie Facebook page.