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/media/whoweare/library/mariambe3.jpg My name is Maria Hanson MBE and I created me&dee as a registered charity in 2006

As a disabled woman, I know only too well how treats can become the bottom of a priority list. My very close cousin Delia and I often spoke about this, and how we would like to set up our own charity providing low cost holidays for when time is short and precious, for when living in continual stress and pain makes life so very hard to contend with. We were consciuos of the effect that a simple British seaside holiday with a luxury caravan and a private sea front beach hut could have in creating those very precious and magical memories together.

Sadly, Delia lost her battle with cancer in 2005 before we could achieve our dreams together. I carry her and our dream in my heart, and eleven years on, me&dee is creating over 100 special moments a year, and in addition is supporting oncology wards in hospitals and in hospices with nominations.


Why did we decide to move our charity function to Mablethorpe?


This followed an invitation to meet Mr Don Amott (Don Amott Leisure Kingdom)

Following the with him, he offered Maria the loan of a caravan on Whispering Waters, a small residential site, in Mablethorpe. This allowed Maria to move from being a ‘treat charity’ to one offering exclusive treats by way of holidays in Mablethorpe in Dee’s Den. This was such a very generous and unexpected hand of support. Don also arranged for the garden area to be cleared and for a decking area to be added.

It allowed us time to learn how to look after a caravan, how it would work for the charity, and how to address the needs of families having very often, a last holiday together. With the addition of a private sea front beach hut, which we rent, we became able to offer a memory making experience in the best possible way, with a break at our wonderful British seaside.

WOW how very quickly me&dee fell in love with Mablethorpe, and the people there. We were able to use this caravan, through Don’s generosity, for two full seasons, seeing 82 families making very special memories when their time was short and precious.


This came through a private benefactor to whom we are extremely grateful. This became ‘Maria’s Den’ and situated on the Haven, Golden Sands site in Mablethorpe which allowed us to offer a venue with an indoor pool with hoist, outdoor pool, restaurant and activities for the children. Through further fundraising, we were able too, to add a decking area. This allowed us to add a further 42 families to our list having holidays arranged when their time is short and precious for a memory making holiday in Mablethorpe.


A little story, and adding a new leaf to our tree of families helped. Following our unexpected but fantastic win as East Midlands Charity Fundraiser of the Year for Pride of Britain Awards in London, we met several members of our Armed Forces who had received horrific injuries. One of those was Karl Hinnett, and another Captain Dave Henson. We left knowing that what we offered would be a fabulous and help with healing facility, but no way to do anything about that. I mentioned this at our anniversary ball, and Claire Corbett, whose brother worked for one of our trustees, so very kindly rang up and said – “I have your military caravan for you”! Claire donated her caravan to us, and it was duly moved to Mablethorpe on Golden Sands. It was set to be called ‘Heroes Retreat’ but following the death of a very good friend of mine, became ‘Daz’s Den’ as a legacy to him.

And so, me&dee became a charity offering sea side breaks for when time is short and precious, and for members of the Armed Forces who had received serious and life threatening injuries, physical and psychological.


We were absolutely amazed when Mike Thompson, CEO of Childbase Partnership, chose me&dee to fundraise for and raised an incredible £16,000 to enable the purchase of our fourth caravan. The amount of work that went into this incredible amount was deeply appreciated. This caravan was also situated with a large decking added through the fundraising of Matt Bignall, on Golden Sands. It was named for Matt’s daughter, Maddie. This enabled 100 families to make their memories together on a sea side break. Often a last holiday for many families, this offered a warm and comfortable haven for them.


We were unable at the beginning of 2017 to sustain the running of 4 caravans. As we only put 5% to administration, we could not enlist the full time office staff needed to continue, and Maria’s disability needs and declining health further added to this. We do not employ fundraising staff to control and work for the amount of money needed to run 4 caravans for site fees, running costs and the amount of families 4 caravans could house over a season.

To sustain our charity, in the manner to which is was set up, decisions had to be made and not lightly by any means. We needed to bring the charity to two caravans, and look at helping 100 families a year through that to halve the work and the amount of funds needed.

Left with caravan 1,2 and 3 we looked at ways to do this. Unfortunately, Maddie’s Den (4) without any heating facilities, had succumbed badly to damp and needed a great many repairs including window replacements and a heating system fitted.

As a second hand caravan, and with the support of the Haven team, this was found to be very costly. Our decision came in our best interest, and that of our families, to trade all three towards 2 second hand but only five year old caravans with central heating to mains gas, thus eliminating the issue of damp and damage through that.

The caravans are also situated on a more expensive but beautiful garden area of the Haven site. We could never have done this without the generosity of those who contributed towards, and purchased the caravans for us. It was a business decision in doing the very best for the charity, and having newer and centrally heated models for our very poorly families, to give them the best experience we could around their many and varied needs.

Our two caravans have served us well, seeing more 150 families helped through their seasons in making their memories at the Mablethorpe Seaside.

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