A voluntary community group is making special memories for the family of a terminally sick baby by giving them a five-day break in Ingoldmells.
Mum and dad Kay Folland and Johnny Johnson arrived at the Sand Sun and Special Needs caravan at the Golden Palm Resort in Chapel St Leonards on Monday with 10-month-old Anna Rose.
In spite of the weather turning cool, they received a warm welcome by members of the voluntary group from Derby, along with its ambassador, Gogglebox celebrity Sandra Martin, and characters Pepper Pig and and Chase and Sky from Paw Patrol.
Also there to welcome them were John and Alison Simpson, who prepare the charity’s caravan for its guest and are on call during their stay.
On this occasion a second caravan has been donated on the site so all nine members of the family can share what they never thought possible - a holiday together.
Kay, who was cuddling Anna Rose after the long journey from Bracknell, said: “This means all the world to us. We wouldn’t have been able to have a holiday together if it hadn’t been for the charity.”
Anna Rose has Krabbe disease - a rare and often fatal lysosomal storage disease which results in progressive damage to the nervous system. Kay said: “As a family we used to go to the park all the time but since Anna Rose became sick we haven’t been able to - it’s always a mission to do anything.
“But this week is different and we will be able to have that special time.”
Michael Ryan, who founded the charity which is now in its fourth season of making special memories for families facing end-of-life situations, said he never fails to be moved by people’s stories. The caravan has everything a family needs to make it a special time, including toys for the children to play with. “When we see them smile, it makes it all worthwhile,” said Michael.
Sandra Martin sat knitting for two new grandchildren while waiting for the family to arrive. “That makes it extra hard,” she said. “But since my celebrity work people like to see me at things and when I heard about this baby I just had to come.”
Sand Sun and Special Needs would welcome more caravans being offered for holidays. If you can donate a few days, call 01332 405404 or make contact via the Sand Sun and Special Needs Facebook page.