A Leicester woman who had a tough childhood has spoken about the huge difference a Leicester Children’s Holiday trip made to her life.
Naomi, aged 31, went on to Mablethorpe with the charity when she was aged eight. For her, it was an escape from her life at home.
Account manager Naomi, who currently lives in Leicester with her grandfather, said: “My father was jailed seven times when I was growing up. For more than half of my childhood he was in prison.
“Along the way my mum and nana were my rocks. Without them both I am not sure I would have coped.”
The initial 2-week stay with Leicester Children’s Holidays in 1996 made a huge impact on her life. She said: “It suddenly allowed me to be a child again. I could have fun and it was so good to feel safe and carefree.
“When I was growing up, holidays for us were day trips to Skegness. I remember when we went back to school after the summer break we would have to stand in front of the class and speak about what we had done over the holidays. My younger sister still has to do that. For a few years, everyone else had been on holiday but not me.
“After my break with Leicester Children’s Holidays, at last I had something positive and good to say to my classmates.”
She grew up as only child and went away to Mablethorpe with the charity three times and, just like today, was put forward by her schools, first Coleman Primary and later Linden Primary.
And just like today, her mum and her nana took her to the charity’s headquarters at Holy Bones to check in the office and get on the coach. “I remember being terribly travel sick”, Naomi said. “My mum always handed me a carrier bag and a bottle of water just in case. But I always had an amazing time.
“I remember the dorms with 12 girls in each, the cold floors and choosing your bed. I always picked the same one. It was exciting for us children and we seemed to make friends easily.
“I don’t remember what film I watched last week but I remember vividly watching Star Wars at a little cinema owned by a lovely couple. It was a real treat.
“I remember playing on the beach, the obstacle course and the treasure hunt which was half on the beach and half in the house. There was a big playground too. My mum and nana were allowed to visit for a day and I proudly showed them around.
“One night the children all sat in the big living room together and watched Michael Jackson’s Thriller.