Success in caravan fundraiser

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A group formed last year to raise funds for an adapted caravan to offer disabled people a holiday in Skegness has achieved its aim.

The Sand, Sea and Special Needs group was set up by Michael Ryan, 38, in March.

It aimed to raise enough money to buy an adapted caravan for free holidays for disabled and terminally ill children and their families.

In the meantime, it has been able to offer breaks in a non-adapted caravan at Skegness’s Blue Anchor Leisure holiday park thanks to a couple from the resort donating a vehicle.

The caravan has since been named Amelia’s Retreat in honour of a two-year-old girl from Nottinghamshire who was due to stay there, but died before she was able to.

In addition to Skegness, the group has also been able to provide breaks for deserving families elsewhere in the UK thanks to other caravan owners offering up their vehicles for use.

Since launching, the range of people benefiting from the scheme has been extended to include disabled and terminally ill adults and victims of abuse or trauma.

Now, following a £25,000 donation from the One Family foundation, the group has been able to buy an adapted caravan, which is also based at Blue Anchor Leisure.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” said Michael, from Derby. “We are chuffed.”

The caravan cost £19,000 and the group is using the leftover money to buy an adapted minibus to transport families to their holiday destinations, while also providing day trips to isolated senior citizens.

For Michael, part of the inspiration for the charitable drive comes from his eight-year-old son, who has a condition - ictal bradycardia - which can result in sudden death.

Of the endeavour, he said: “It’s emotional, it’s hard, it’s draining, but when you see a picture of them smiling on holiday, it’s all worthwhile.”