Look back at seaside holiday fun for thousands of youngsters - provided by Derbyshire charity for 130 years
Donkey rides, building sandcastles and eating ice-cream – thousands of Derbyshire children have enjoyed happy holidays by the seaside.
For 130 years, the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre has been giving youngsters a break in Skegness.
Michelle Breffitt, who lives in Alfreton, looks back on her holiday with fond memories. She said: “Enjoying time at the fair, by the sea, building sandcastles, singing songs, playing games and even horse riding let me be a child, smile and make friends with people I wouldn’t normally mix with. I think this opened my mind to make an effort to understand others, appreciate our differences and explore emotions and opportunities I wouldn't have even known existed.
"Attending what we called, Skegness Home, gave me a positive experience which helped shape the person I am today. The love and care I received plus the fun I had whilst on my holidays was something (I know now) every child has the right to.”
Michelle, who is now 41, said: “The smell of breakfast in the morning, sitting to eat at a dining table and clean clothes neatly folded on my bed are just some of the things I still appreciate today because of my time at the centre."
The charity allows children who may never have had a holiday to enjoy a week of relaxation and fun. In normal circumstances, it runs between April and October with spaces for 660 children a year.
Former Derbyshire Lord Lieutenant Willie Tucker is a new patron of the charity, having seen at first-hand the great work it does.
During his tenure, Willie and his wife Jill paid the specialist centre a visit. Willie said: "Even before the pandemic it was obvious to us that these were children who definitely deserved to have the treat of a holiday in Skegness.”
The charity’s roots lie in a chance meeting between friends Harry Sykes and Arnold Bemrose and a group of young boys in a deprived area of Derby. With their parents’ permission, the boys were taken on a day trip to Skegness by Harry and Arnold.
The following year, a house was rented in the seaside town and 223 children enjoyed a holiday. Funds were then raised to build a centre which opened in 1898.