A GRIEVING couple has reaffirmed their unfaltering efforts to create a multi-million-pound disability day centre in their daughter's memory - but are ‘desperate’ for help.

Parents Rachael, 72, and Ian Scott-Hunter, 75, dedicate almost every waking hour of their day to plans to build a £2.5million day centre in Bicester for adults with learning disabilities.

The pair, from Chesterton near Bicester, were inspired to start the project by their own experience with daughter Alexandra who had severe learning difficulties and passed away in March 2019.

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Rachael Scott-Hunter pictured with daughter Alexandra in 2016

The 46-year-old’s ‘inspirational and brave’ life lies at the heart of the project which came about a year before her death, in March 2018, as a response to council cuts that left a ‘catastrophic’ gap in care for adults.

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Since then, the couple has raised - with the help of a small but dedicated team of volunteers - thousands of pounds towards the build, secured a plot of land gifted to the cause, and most recently submitted planning.

Mrs Scott-Hunter said: “It is very exciting now planning has gone in and we are another step further along.

“The only thing for me is that I now have to shelve that and wait for the planning process, so I can’t dwell on it.

“I have to distance myself and let it be, and can now turn my full attentions to raising more money.”

The Alexandra House of Joy project was awarded charitable status in early 2018 and the couple have since gone full-steam-ahead into make their dream a reality.

Plans submitted to Cherwell District Council apply for the centre to be built on land south of Seelscheid Way, between the A41 and Wretchwick Way.

It would include six bedrooms for respite stay, and end of life palliative care, for adults with learning difficulties age 35 and upwards.

There will also be a day centre for adults aged 19 years and upwards that would include a music room, sensory room, computer room, arts and crafts, outdoor space, and a hydrotherapy pool.

Issues have been raised about the site's proximity to a medieval settlement.

This has provided the first planning hurdle for the charity, which is archaeological digs to ensure building is ok to go ahead.

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Mrs Scott-Hunter said it is a 'set back' for the project but hopes it can be resolved in the coming months.

As the pair continue their efforts with fundraising, the charity has raised £73,000 since starting with eyes on the £100,000 mark.

Mrs Scott-Hunter said: “It is wonderful that we raised £73,000 so far, thank’s to a number of people’s efforts.

“The teams we have helping are brilliant. I always say it is the volunteers that underpin this charity.”

She added: “I am overwhelmed by their help and dedication.”

The charity needs £117,646 to be able to start the build once planning is approved.

A small team of people are helping raise this through a Friday market stall, car boot sales, events and knitting.

Mrs Scott-Hunter added: "Our team is incredible but I would really love help I am desperate for help to deal with it all because it is all very overwhelming – there is a lot of elements to it.

"Setting up events, leafleting, donations, advertising, social media, emails, a lot goes into it all."

She continued: "We have committed to this project and I am going to make it happen.

"Someone said what happens if it doesn’t, but I won’t let it – it would make the whole of Alexandra’s life worthless. Through her we learned about the needs of adults with learning difficulties and for her we will make this happen."

For details of events or to help go to alexandrahouseofjoy.co.uk

For the plans search 19/01191/OUT on cherwell.gov.uk