Dale the Dalek’s beach exterminated

March 26 2015

SUMMER may well be over for Dale the Dalek – the deck chair has been packed up, the seagulls have flown away and the dolphins have swam back out to sea.

SUMMER may well be over for Dale the Dalek – the deck chair has been packed up, the seagulls have flown away and the dolphins have swam back out to sea.

But what remains is huge smiles and a sense of pride, as Keith – the creator of Dale and the beach-themed garden – managed to raise over £1,000 for Children's Hospice South West.

But he says that he would not have been able to reach his target without the help of Window Wanderland founder Lucy Reeves.

Keith, from Thornleigh Road, set up the garden back in November and called on local residents to sit in the deck chair – donning their swimwear – to raise money for Children's Hospice South West, the charity which cared for his nephew, who suffered from muscle dystrophy.

Around 20 people braved the chill and sat in the chair.

His nephew, who loved Daleks, was the inspiration behind Dale, which was built by Keith 10 years ago using an old council compost bin, a wok, sink plunger, egg whisk and other objects.

“As soon as I put out that deck chair, I knew it would be a good idea,” said Keith. “But, I never thought I'd end up raising this much money. The only problem now is deciding what to do next year.”

It took Keith one day to transform his garden back into a seasonal vegetable patch, which will remain until November.

The giant cheque for £1016.53 was handed over to community fundraiser at Bristol's Charlton Farm hospice, Tamara Downes.

She said: “We look after 200 families at the hospice, and 100 bereaved families, so we're very reliant on voluntary funds.

“Fun community fundraising, such as what Keith has done, have a real synergy with what we do at the hospice.

“This is definitely one of the most fun ways we've seen to raise money for the hospice.”

The hospice provides expert care for children with life-limiting illnesses, with ongoing support given to their families.

Around £500 of the final sum was raised on the evening of the Window Wanderland trail which took place on February 7.

Lucy, who set up the trail to banish away the winter blues by encouraging people to decorate their windows and explore other displays in the local neighbourhood, said: “I am delighted about the money we raised for Children's Hospice South West.

“I very much wanted a charity part to Window Wanderland but it was very difficult to find collectors for charity money, so Keith was perfect as he already had a way to collect the money.

“We raised £500 in that one night thanks to the generosity of the Window Wanderlanders.

“Keith is busy thinking of ideas for next year now of how to change his garden. Would I sit in a deckchair in mid winter in my swimming costume again? Absolutely I would, it was a great cause that affects so many people I would definitely do it again.”

Over 170 creatively dressed windows and gardens were on display on the evening, with hundreds of families flocking to the streets to enjoy the trail.

Lucy Reeves, Tamara from Bristol Children's Hopsice & Keith Walker