Revitalise has been providing respite holidays for disabled people and carers for over 55 years because holidays matter to us all. They can help us escape from the everyday. They can make relationships come alive. So, here are three heart-warming stories from Revitalise guests and the impact these much-needed breaks have had on their lives.
Tracey & Carl
Carl Ashcroft and Tracey Stewart first met 15 years ago at Revitalise Sandpipers. They became friends and started to regularly coordinate their visits to the centre, before becoming a couple after friendship blossomed into romance. On 12 June 2015, Carl took their relationship to the next level, proposing to Tracey at the place where it all began.
When questioned on why he chose to propose at Sandpipers, Carl said “I come here four times a year and I always meet loads of different friends. I really wanted to be surrounded by friends when I asked for Tracey’s hand.”
The proposal was carefully planned. Not only did Carl select the perfect location for it, he also picked a significant date: “I chose the day before my late mum’s birthday. My mum died two and a half years ago, and Tracey really helped me during this difficult time as she has experienced losing a parent too. We have been through similar things. Tracey has turned my life around. I can’t thank her enough.” Carl waited until the Friday night party entertainment was almost over before he popped the question. “Tracey was very surprised but thankfully she said “yes”. Then we had the last dance of the night together.”
The couple don’t have a date for the big day yet as they are going to enjoy a long engagement first. They have already planned several more breaks at Sandpipers though, so we look forward to welcoming them soon as husband and wife-to-be for the first time.
Mavis & Colin
Mavis, who has had MS since an early age, relied on the care given to her by her husband Colin. Then their roles were suddenly and unexpectedly reversed. Colin was diagnosed with Dementia in 2002 and saw Mavis become his full-time career. Since then, Mavis has had to deal with the difficulties of caring for someone with this condition.
However, when Mavis saw Revitalise advertised, she decided to contact them for further details. After discussing their requirements with the friendly holiday advisors at Revitalise, the couple received funding for a week, and they decided to try it.
Speaking of their Revitalise break, Mavis commented: “We made lots of friends there and have kept in touch. Colin had been getting up and talking to people, something he hasn’t done for a long time. That is a change I have seen in him. At home I can never ever leave Colin on his own but because of all the reassurances I actually went on one of the trips without Colin. I was worrying most of the time but had no need to. He had a fabulous time without me there and had lots of laughs.
“Revitalise got me back to my ‘fun’ side that had been missing but has always been a big part of me. Colin just enjoyed everything and keeps telling people about our stay there – more memories for him to talk about. We look after each other. We have been married 57 years and are best friends, lovers and partners. Revitalise was just the icing on the cake of our life together so far.”
Amanda & Phil
Amanda Montgomery of New Mexico in the USA and Phil Gibson of Merseyside have been together since April 2007 and got engaged at Sandpipers on 3 March 2013. We chatted to Amanda about her relationship with Phil and why she travels halfway across the world to stay at Revitalise.
Amanda and Phil started talking in an internet chat room for disabled people before meeting in person for the first time in Bradford in 2007. In 2010, Amanda was visiting Phil again when, by chance, they encountered a Revitalise (then Vitalise) bus out on an excursion at Knowsley Safari Park.
“We saw lots of disabled people getting off this bus, so Phil’s dad went to find out more” explained Amanda. “As soon as we heard about Revitalise Sandpipers, we knew it would be a perfect place for us.”
The couple’s first Revitalise visit took place on Amanda’s return to the UK in 2012. “We stayed for two weeks and absolutely loved it” Amanda continued, “I was excited to be with Phil again and all the different trips really appealed to me as I am very adventurous. We don’t have centres like this in America.
“For us as a couple, Sandpipers means freedom and independence! Being from different countries makes our relationship difficult anyway, but add to that our disabilities and it’s even harder. At Revitalise we can be a couple just like any other. We get help when it’s needed and never have to feel awkward or uncomfortable about it.”
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Revitalise Respite Holidays.