Park Holidays UK has begun a race against time on behalf of a brave mum, Debra Drew, whose life was tragically changed one day on a Devon beach.
The group is going all out to help raise funds which will enable Debra’s dream to come true of being out of hospital and back home this Christmas.
In the summer of 2014, Debra was enjoying a holiday at Woolacombe Bay with her two sons when she spotted a nine-year-old boy struggling in the choppy waters. In an act of incredible bravery, she plunged into the sea to attempt a rescue of the youngster.
The boy survived – but Debra suffered catastrophic brain injuries when sand was swept into her mouth by the seawater, stopping her breathing.The 48-year-old from Stourbridge, Worcestershire, was in a coma for six months, and doctors believed she would be unlikely ever to move again without assistance.
But although still paralysed, Debra is putting up a brave fight – and is determined to be back home this year in time for Christmas. For this to happen, however, her friends and family need to raise £25,000 to buy a range of different medical equipment, including a specially built wheelchair.
When Park Holidays UK heard about Debra’s courage, bosses resolved to do what they could to give her the independent life she craves. That’s why, over the summer holidays this year, the company will be laying on a raft of family fun activities to help reach the daunting target.
Raffles, auctions, competitions and games are all on the fundraising menu – plus children’s picnics with the parks’ mascots Loopy the Rabbit and Cyril the Squirrel. Many of the entertainers which appear in the parks’ nightly shows – including well-known names from the world of TV and pop – will also be lending their support.
Tony Clish, director of Park Holidays UK, said that Debra’s story is truly inspirational: “Debra has undergone many operations since the horrific incident, and defied doctors’ expectations that there would be little chance of her surviving,” said Tony. “She has shown remarkable spirit, and now it’s time for us to do our bit by helping her return home full time to be among her treasured friends and family.
“All of our parks already do remarkable work to support local good causes, and both our staff and our customers play an important role in fundraising. Now we’re channelling their efforts into a national campaign in which everyone can participate by simply having fun on holiday in a really great cause,” added Tony.
Park Holidays UK operates 24 holiday parks in Southern England, including five in seaside Devon – and have offered Debra and her family a free stay whenever she feels able to take up the offer.