Huge support for charity set up by family in memory of Barnstaple teenager Ellie Easton.

Ellie’s mum Justeen Easton, dad Chris and sister Rhiane have managed to secure a beach hut at Saunton in her memory. Picture: Andy KeebleEllie’s mum Justeen Easton, dad Chris and sister Rhiane have managed to secure a beach hut at Saunton in her memory. Picture: Andy Keeble

Barnstaple parents Justeen and Chris Easton have set up a beach hut charity for adults and children with life threatening illnesses - just five months after their own daughter lost her battle with leukaemia.

Ellie Easton died in March, aged 16, but her legacy will always be felt in the dunes at Saunton following the creation of a new charity, Everything Ellie.

The Sticklepath family say they have been 'overwhelmed' by the response so far, and have managed to secure a beach hut for use from March to November.

The hut had been used by Ellie herself in happier times and now the family hope it will be enjoyed by many more families seeking quality respite from heartbreaking illnesses for years to come.

Mum Justeen said: "We wanted to do something simple, natural, nothing flamboyant; it's just a shed, but it's a lovely shed.

The Everything Ellie charity has been set up in memory of Ellie Easton. Picture: SubmittedThe Everything Ellie charity has been set up in memory of Ellie Easton. Picture: Submitted

"It's our happy place; a simple place to come, have a picnic and enjoy quality time with family.

"It's available for families in similar circumstances, or for poorly parents with young children - as long as they need it.

"We've put posters up in children's wards in Barnstaple, Exeter and Bristol to let people know about it."

A trooper

Ellie was treated for a tumour on her ovaries aged 14 and initially endured four months of chemotherapy.

The beach hut overlooks glorious Saunton Sands. Picture: Andy KeebleThe beach hut overlooks glorious Saunton Sands. Picture: Andy Keeble

The teenager took it all in her stride and proudly returned to Pilton Community College wearing a wig to hide her hair loss.

The family booked a holiday to Spain for the following summer but then came the devastating news that Ellie had developed leukaemia, a side effect of the chemotherapy.

Nine months of intensive chemotherapy followed and Ellie was too ill to go to Spain - she even spent her 16th birthday having treatment.

Hospital consultants helped grant her wish to ride with huskies in the Arctic Circle in January.

Ellie died on March 16.

"Ellie was a trooper, she just endured it all," said dad Chris.

"We were shocked by how she coped with everything; she coped so much better than us.

"The family felt very helpless but the Everything Ellie charity has given everyone something to focus on."

Very humbling

Sister Rhiane said they been 'overwhelmed' by the kindness of friends - and even complete strangers - in recent months.

"It's been very humbling; people have raised more than £6,000 so far" she said.

"Eventually we hope the charity will also be able to offer a wooden lodge for families wanting to get away for it all but the beach hut will remain at the heart of the charity."

A raffle organised by Claire Gover from Northam raised £2,000; the Rolle Quay Inn has raised £2,000 holding barbecues for the charity; and Sticklepath Primary School raised £200 at the end-of-term play,

Saltrock has donated body boards and beach towels for the beach hut, while Johnstone's Paint donated the paint to repaint it.

In May, Pilton Community College pupils raised £10,791 for CLIC Sargent during a sponsored walk in Ellie's memory.

An Everything Ellie Christmas ball is being held at Portmore Golf Club on November 28.

A new website - www.everythingellie.co.uk - is currently under development but for more information about the charity, look for Everything Ellie on Facebook and Twitter.