On Friday 27th October, The Ray Charitable Trust took 23 disadvantaged families (86 people) on an outing to Cotswold Wildlife Park. The Trust hired a double-decker bus, paid for the entry tickets and provided lunch vouchers of £15 per person for all the group.
Ray had been in contact with local primary schools who nominated families that would benefit the most from the outing.
A beautiful day was forecast and with not a cloud in the sky but a slight chill in the air Trustees Ray Collins, Melanie Breakspear, Matthew Donaldson and Laura Beale arrived at the bus stop in Wantage Market place just before 9am. They began checking families on to the bus, while some families had arrived early and were having breakfast before eagerly boarding the bus ready for a great day out.
Once at the park, regular Trust volunteer Nigel Brady took a group photo before trustees handed each family their lunch vouchers for the day. The families then headed off into the park to spend quality time together, having fun and not having to worry about the expense of the day.
Like all the families, the trustees spent the day enjoying the park and meeting up with the families as they walked around. Nigel carried on taking some stunning pictures around the park and of the families, a selection of which you can see in this blog post.
All of the families had a fantastic day out spending quality time together as a family – a luxury they would not have been able to afford in these tough economic times.
“Today’s trip was one of my proudest days to date,” Ray Collins said. “Growing up in a low income family, holidays were quite scarce and days out provided by a local Sunday school gave us some great memories. Seeing all these families, and especially the children, enjoying themselves so much has really made the day so very special and one I’ll never forget. Seeing so many smiles on so many faces, young and old, just made it the perfect day.”
Comments from some of the children and parents:
“Best day out ever”
“All the animals are just brilliant”
“Thanks guys. My kids had a lovely day as did I. It was lovely to meet you all and you were all brilliant with the kids. It must’ve been a pain to organise, so I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving us the opportunity to go with you! What you do is so selfless and I can see you all enjoy giving to people to help them out and that’s unfortunately a rare quality nowadays!” (Daniel Metcalfe)
“Me and my son would not of been able to have this day without your kindness and hard work, cannot thank you enough. People need to follow in your footsteps I’d say and be a lot kinder. Goes a long way.” (Carrie Wilkins)
“I really loved Cotswold, thank you Ray Collins Trust”
The Trust paid all the costs of £2,600 and are planning to make this an annual event for families in need in the Wantage area. Although the destination may change, with some asking to go to the seaside next time.