All kids should get the chance to see the sea

July 15, 2013

When I was 10, we were taken on a whole school trip to Littlehampton. There are several reasons I remember this day trip. Firstly, because my mum bought my sister and I brand new bags to take with us, and made us a special packed lunch. And secondly, because of a little girl in my class called Sheila.

Of course, as soon as our coaches arrived at the seaside, we were all excited and couldn’t wait to go for a paddle or swim (under close supervision, naturally). But Sheila stood there, looking at the sea. And then she burst into tears. When we asked her what was wrong, she told us, ‘I’ve never seen the sea before.’

The truth was, Sheila had never been anywhere before. She didn’t have a new bag, or a special packed lunch. I didn’t realise it at the time, but Sheila got free school meals and her mum and dad were both on benefits.

That day, Sheila got to play in the sea for the first time in her life, and I will never forget the look of total happiness on her face. I’m sure she’s never forgotten that day either.

Family Holiday AssociationFast forward over 30 years later and there are still kids in Britain who never get the chance to go on holiday. In fact over 1.5million families can’t even afford a trip to the seaside. And that’s where the charity the Family Holiday Association comes in. They work to help disadvantaged children, whose lives are made harder by illness, bereavement or disability, get the kind of break they need. We all know the importance of getting some time away with our families over the summer. For these families, it’s crucial.

Neil OliverThe very lovely Neil Oliver is an ambassador for the FHA and he’s encouraging us to help #makethissummermatter for all those children who don’t have the same advantages as our own. Do have a look at the website and see what you can do to help.

When I remember Sheila and our day at Littlehampton it still makes me cry to think of her face when she saw the sea for the first time. All kids should get the chance to see the sea. Let’s help make summer holiday memories for as many British kids as possible.


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  • Crystal Jigsaw July 15, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Lovely post. I totally agree, all children should be given the opportunity for a break away, and the seaside is a wonderful place. We all tend to experience freedom and tranquility at the seaside, and this should be made available for everyone. Great charity – have made a donation.

    CJ x

  • Georgie July 15, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Ahh that’s such a lovely story. I live in Brighton and have lived by/near the sea for over 11 years now. It’s my respite from the chaos of life. It’s sad to think there are kids who have never seen it or experienced the stones and sand between their toes. Not to mention the chill of the water – theres nothing more invigorating. Great post to highlight a worthwhile cause. (PS found you via Britmums)

  • anna July 15, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    This is a great campaign, the sea is such a simple pleasure yet brings so much happiness and sense of calm to you when you see it. Lovely to hear of your class mate Sheila! I took my kids to Little Hampton a couple of years back and it was a great seaside, I will have a look at the website to support the campaign. I had not heard of it til now!