A CELEBRATION in memory of a ‘larger than life’ dad of five who suddenly passed away at age 35 is being held at a Rhyl holiday park – and they need your help.
Jeff Dunning was on holiday with his wife and ‘childhood sweetheart’ Vicki at Lyons Robin Hood when he died suddenly, surrounded by his five children, in August this year.
The Ellesmere Port family said the loss was ‘heart-breaking’, especially as the late Jeff lost his mother only two weeks prior to this incident on August 20 following a battle with cancer.
The family were in the caravan when Jeff felt a sudden chest pain and had to lie down. Vicki attempted CPR before ambulance crews and an air ambulance arrived at the scene, however Jeff sadly died 45 minutes later.
Daniel, Jeff’s cousin, said: “Jeff was an only child raised by [mum] Joyce, and we were preparing for her funeral when Jeff passed away out of nowhere. He was with Vicki and their children at his mum’s new caravan in Robin Hood, which she never had the chance to go to.
“He was talking to Vicki while they were sat in the caravan, and the next minute he made a funny noise. He said he was hurting, and then he had to go to the floor. Vicki tried to resuscitate him before the ambulance came. They were there with a helicopter within half an hour; the ambulance were fantastic and tried themselves, but unfortunately they were not able to.
“A nice way of putting it is that he has joined his mum in the sky.
“Ever since we were kids, we have always holidayed North Wales, on camping trips, and a number of family members own caravans there. Jeff and the family went to have some time as a family, so it is nice that they had that week together.”
The team and owners at Lyons Robin Hood are now rallying up to raise as many funds as possible for Vicki and the kids just before Christmas hits, an occasion that Richard, Joyce’s wife and Jeff’s father, said will be ‘strange’ and ‘quiet’ this year.
An evening of celebration will be held on October 29th, which will include live entertainment, ‘Hood’ Bingo, guest acts, and a raffle/auction, allowing owners on-park to raise a glass to these two beloved members of the community.
Beth Hughes, marketing and PR executive for the group, said: “We all remember the day the air ambulance landed outside the park, and we were all extremely shocked and saddened to hear of Jeff’s passing. It was one of those moments you’ll never forget, and it’s safe to say our hearts broke for Richard who is a longstanding owner at Lyons Robin Hood. Many of us went home and hugged our loved ones – it’s things like this that put everything in perspective.
“We can’t even put into words how big the hole in the Cross family’s live must be. We can’t comprehend how Jeff’s wife, now a single mother of five must be feeling. We can’t begin to try to understand how Joyce’s husband, who is an owner at Lyons Robin Hood, must be feeling too.
“But what we can do is show our support to these amazing people, and help them celebrate the lives of Jeff and Joyce who were taken too soon from this world. To do this, we’re organising a charity fundraiser for owners on Robin Hood, with some live music, some games, and a raffle.
“And here’s where we need the help of our local community – if anyone could donate anything to this special cause as raffle prizes – whether that’s a bottle of wine, some chocolates, candles, signed football shirts, tickets or vouchers of any kind or anything at all – that would be absolutely wonderful. We would be happy to promote your business to our owners on the night, and let them know that your business has supported this local family who I’m sure don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
“A small gesture from you will go a long way in helping us raise funds for Jeff’s 5 children, and Joyce’s grandchildren, to somewhat enjoy their first Christmas without their father and grandmother.”
Those wishing to donate raffle or auction prizes can do so by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07715638016. Pick up from the local area can be arranged, and postal options are also available.