Twenty-four visually-impaired children and their families enjoyed a special ‘Festive Express’ on the Bure Valley Railway, travelling to see Santa at Aylsham Station – thanks to the generosity of a Cromer plumbing business and some of its suppliers.
James and Sally Watts, who run Ignite It Right Plumbing and Heating in the town raised an incredible £1185 which paid for the whole event, organised by Norfolk’s sight loss charity Vision Norfolk, which saw a total of 45 children and 49 adults board the special train and receive a gift from Father Christmas.
The couple have a three year-old daughter, Jenelle, who has Nystagmus, a condition which causes problems with depth perception and focussing. They had started to attend Vision Norfolk’s toddler group and wanted to do something to support the charity’s work with children and young people.
“When we were put on the list for the festive train, we were so shocked that the event wasn’t going to cost us anything that we felt we wanted to do something to show our thanks,” said Sally, who runs the plumbing business with husband James.
“We decided that the business would donate a £100 Amazon voucher to be raffled. Then some of our suppliers heard what we were doing and the response was incredible. City Plumbing Supplies in Cromer donated a £1,500 bathroom suite as a prize, Easy Bathrooms in Norwich donated a £500 voucher, and Screwfix in Aylsham donated some top-of-the-range drill bits.
“Thanks to their generosity, we sold many more raffle tickets than we thought we would be able to, and were delighted to raise £1185 to support the wonderful work Vision Norfolk does with children.”
Barbara Dunn, children, young people and families co-ordinator at Vision Norfolk, said, “The support which we offer to visually-impaired children and young people and their families is vital. It enables the children and their families to meet others with similar eye conditions, people who understand them and understand their limitations.
“Our ambition is to be able to provide support for the children and young people right through to adulthood, and for their families as well – not just providing activities and events, but supporting them emotionally and practically.
“But doing this of course costs money, so when people like Sally and James step up to raise money to pay for a big event like our Festive Express, it makes such a difference.”
Anyone wishing to contribute to Vision Norfolk’s Christmas appeal for Children and Young People can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/campaign/visionnorfolkCYPFappeal.