Martin Dorey

Writer & Surfer living in North Devon and also known as ‘The Campervan Man’ after his first book ‘The Camper Van Cookbook’ inspired the popular BBC TV series, ‘One Man and his Campervan’. In the series Martin cooked his way around the UK starting out from North Devon, where he fished for mackerel at Clovelly and camped on the beach in Hartland. Almost 2 million viewers watched the final episode as Martin’s camper broke down in Wales.

Martin is also someone who understands – from firsthand experience – what life can be like looking after a very sick child. His daughter Maggie, now 10, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia just after her first birthday and received treatment at North Devon District Hospital and then at Bristol Children’s Hospital. She and the family spent 6 months on the ward while she received an intensive course of chemotherapy. Maggie’s sister, Charlie, was born in Bristol during Maggie’s treatment.

She was named after two of Maggie’s nurses who, through quick thinking, saved Maggie’s life after she had an anaphylactic reaction to a new cancer drug.

Maggie is now well and happy and living life to the full. In September 2013 she won bronze in ‘The World Belly Board Championships’ in St Agnes, Cornwall. She also swims for Bideford Bay Surf Life Saving Club, goes camping with her family and laughs a lot.

Martin says,

“Maggie’s illness has had a profound effect on our family.

It changed the course of our lives and made us appreciate the good times even more. Thanks to the nurses, doctors and children’s charities we were able to get through it and have become survivors.

Without the help of charities like Care for Kids North Devon others may not be so lucky – so we need to do all we can. For worried, tired, scared and confused parents the simplest things can make a biggest difference.”