A fund set up in memory of a boy from Kettering who drowned on holiday has helped another six families.
Dylan Cecil was just four-years-old when he fell into the sea while playing on a jetty in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, in August 2012.
After his death the Dylan Cecil Memorial Fund was set up to help under-privileged children and their families by providing respite holidays in the Burnham-on-Sea area.
Before this year five families had enjoyed holidays since the fund was created in 2015 but this year, thanks to the charity’s incredible efforts, six families alone will enjoy a break in the sun.
Dylan’s grandad John Cecil said: “It’s been a learning curve for us but we’ve definitely got a better process in place now to get people on holiday.
“We really can say to ourselves that Dylan’s passing was not in vain.”
He added that the families have “thoroughly enjoyed themselves”.
This year’s chosen families will enjoy a week’s stay at Holiday Resort Unity in Brean Sands, the charity’s chosen partner.
The units there have ramps, widened doorways and more accessibility which many of the families find beneficial.
A Holiday Resort Unity spokesman said: “These holidays can only be provided through the generosity of the donations that the charity receives and, having a very brief background on all of the families that were nominated, we know how much these breaks mean to them.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone for their support.”
Further fundraising efforts in aid of the Dylan Cecil Memorial Fund will kickstart today (Wednesday) at the Newlands Shopping Centre, which has picked the fund as its chosen charity.
Every Wednesday from now until the school summer holidays end there will be various guest appearances from characters from Paw Patrol, SpongeBob, PJ Masks, Charlie and Lola, Peppa Pig and Ice Age.
John will be at the centre himself on August 1 and said Dylan, who would have turned 10 this year, would have approved.
He said: “We are really grateful for the support from Newlands.
“It’s still difficult for us but I am sure that Dylan would have loved it.”
Newlands centre manager Neil Griffin said: “We are keen to raise as much money for this fund as possible.
“We are all doing our bit. Jodie Lockley, our marketing co-ordinator, recently ran Wolf Run and we have also had help from Bugtopia and have plans to run a tombola shortly.
“We have lots of exciting things planned for families every Wednesday while the children are on holiday and are hoping to collect even more money for the charity on these days.”
For more detail about the character appearances visit https://www.newlandsshopping.com or the centre’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NewlandsShoppingCentre.
Posters about the character appearances can also be found in the shopping centre.