A CITY cancer campaigner has spoken of her sadness after she called time on a seaside project which has offered a safe haven for hundreds of people suffering with the illness.
Sylvia Render, chair of Worcester Cancer Support Group, helped set up the holiday scheme, called Care-a-Van, for cancer patients and their families after her husband, Jack, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
More than 200 people have enjoyed using the luxury caravan, which is situated at the Blue Anchor Bay holiday park near Minehead, since it was introduced in 1989.
But with the lease set to run out at the Somerset site at the end of this year, Mrs Render felt the time was right to say good-bye.
“It is a sad occasion, but we can’t take away what we have given to people. We have helped many families have a much-needed breaks,” she said.
“There have been plenty of heart-warming stories which people tell when they comeback. For example, we had one young mother, who had a brain tumour, with two small children and they had lovely holidays in the caravan. She rang me and said it was wonderful to be able to go there as she said she was making memories for her children. Older people have also enjoyed time spent with family.
“It is a shame that it has come to an end but I think we have ended more on a high than a low because we have served so many people in the 24 years.”
Mrs Render along with three fellow members of cancer supports groups, including Warndon resident Pauline Jones, launched a campaign in 1988 to raise funds to purchase a caravan.
After a series of sponsored events, they managed to secure enough money to buy a luxury six berth caravan a year later. It became a popular venue for cancer patients, with the cost of the holiday subsidised to alleviate financial pressure.
Mrs Render said she was now looking to donate some the caravan’s items, including bedding, to city homeless charity Maggs Day Centre.
“It has been a wonderful project,” she added. “But whilst it was hard work it has been heart warming to hear how much it has been appreciated.”