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Bereaved mother transforms home into respite retreat

Jacqui Lowrie's 20-year-old daughter Charley died of a rare condition two years ago.

Respite centre: In mother's house.
Respite centre: In mother's house.

A bereaved mother has channelled her grief by transforming her home into a respite retreat for disabled children.

Jacqui Lowrie's daughter Charley died of a rare condition two years ago at the age of 20, after being told she would only live for one week.

Jacqui devoted her life to her daughter, and even designed a new pram to make her more comfortable.

"Charley was the most amazing girl - I was totally blessed in June 1996," she said.

"She had the most incredible life, she's been to America three times, she'd had 17 holidays abroad - she was just the happiest wee girl.

"She's just an absolute miracle."

Respite centre: In woman's home.
Respite centre: In woman's home.

Since her passing, Jacqui has decided to support the lives of others who face similar challenges, hoping people will trust in her as she has personally lived the life of a carer.

On Thursday she officially opened her new respite centre, Trusted Breaks, based in her completely adapted Glenrothes home.

"I feel Charley's just pushing every single step forward for Trusted Breaks because she's opened up so many doors," she continued.

'I just feel every single day that she gives me signs that this is what I'm meant to do.'
Jacqui Lowrie

"I just feel every single day that she gives me signs that this is what I'm meant to do."

Jacqui says the respite centre is not just for people coming for respite, but also for their families.

"When you're a carer and you look after your loved one, trust is massive, and that's why we're called Trusted Breaks.

"I couldn't trust anyone to look after Charley because she had such profound special needs, and I found it very difficult to accept the help.

"Every family I've known through the last 20 years has felt the same."

Trusted Breaks: In Glenrothes.
Trusted Breaks: In Glenrothes.

She continued: "If somebody had set this up away back for other children and Charley to go to, it would've made my life a lot easier - to trust people and know that a family had lived the life."

She says the centre's model is that the carers will have lived the life as a carer.

"We know every obstacle, every challenge that you face, and every fear.

"I just feel that we're all one, and we're going to help each other and make such a massive difference to the way care is delivered to people."

'We know every obstacle, every challenge that you face, and every fear.'
Jacqui Lowrie

The opening of this centre is just the start of Jacqui's plans.

"This is just the beginning," she said.

"I've got massive plans for the next seven years.

"I'm going to develop seven respite houses and a big glass dome sensor activity centre in honour of my daughter Charley - it's going to be called Charley Bubbles and Trusted Breaks."

With Jacqui's determination, it looks certain that Charley's legacy will live on for years to come.

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