The “Naomi” for Naomi House

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The ‘Naomi’ – Novah Swimwear

I got my first Novah bikini over a year ago. It’s been on many holidays and spa trips and impressed me with its ability to maintain its original shape and colour. They are the highest quality bikinis I’ve ever owned.

In February I received an email from Maddy, founder of Novah Swimwear, proposing making a charity piece together. Of course I jumped at the chance. Naomi House came to mind immediately. We chose the colour based on the Naomi House logo and staff shirts.

Naomi House opened on 27th June 1997, two days after Dylan was born. We first visited when Dylan was 10 months old. I was only two at the time and I was so excited I pooed on the floor. Let’s keep that between us.

Naomi House is a children’s hospice based in Winchester. They provide respite support for families of children with life-limiting and terminal conditions. I know the word ‘Hospice’ can carry some negative connotations, conjuring up images of sadness and death. But our experience at Naomi House was the exact opposite, their aim being to make the most of life. In addition to the support given to Dylan and my parents, my sister and I were privileged to have been invited to do many sibling activities that we would never have had the chance to do otherwise. From sailing trips to helicopter rides to hover-crafting.

All families were allocated 14 nights a year. Sometimes Dylan went there on his own but normally we would all go together. Naomi House provide food and accommodation for the whole family.  Their motto was “A home from home.” which is exactly what it felt like. We always knew a warm welcome was waiting for us and we always felt relaxed, comfortable and knew we were going to have a lot of fun.

We went to Naomi House for over 16 years and we’re still friends with the families and staff we met there.

Undoubtedly, the greatest support we received from Naomi House was when Dylan died. We knew we wanted Dylan to be at home in his bedroom with us around him when he died and that we wanted him to then go to Naomi House. They have a special suite there where children who have died can stay and be visited by their families until their funeral. Dylan was there for almost two weeks and we went to visit him every day. This time was very precious to us. We read his favourite books, sang his favourite songs and cried a lot.

The staff gave us so much support and helped us with all of the official requirements and funeral arrangements. We asked the Naomi House Chaplain to give Dylan’s funeral service.

Naomi House costs 5 million pounds a year to run and they rely almost entirely on fundraising and donations. All profits from the ‘Naomi’ bikini will be donated to Naomi House. I know first hand that this is a truly amazing place and have many great memories here with Dylan and my family that I will cherish forever.

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