St Albans home lit up for Christmas to raise money to take disabled kids to Disneyland

PUBLISHED: 15:47 19 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:20 20 December 2017

Mr Clark's decorations. Photo: Frank Clark.

Mr Clark's decorations. Photo: Frank Clark.

Archant

A St Albans home has lit up for Christmas to help raise money for a children's charity.

Mr Clark's decorations. Photo: Frank Clark.Mr Clark's decorations. Photo: Frank Clark.

Frank Clark, 78, of Vicarage Close, has erected a gazebo filled with decorations for Dreamflight for the past few years.

Mr Clark said: “The children have not got long. They’re handicapped or severely ill.”

“Last year, three children came to the door and said they had seen it and went to get money. It has me in tears.”

Mr Clark paid for all the lights and a snow machine himself, and admirers leave donations in a bucket next to the tent.

Mr Clark's decorations. Photo: Frank Clark.Mr Clark's decorations. Photo: Frank Clark.

He raised £150 from the lights last Christmas, but is hoping to hit a target of £2,000 this time.

A Dreamflight spokesperson said: “Each October, Dreamflight takes a plane-full of amazing children for a holiday of a lifetime.

“The charity hires a 747 aircraft and takes 192 children from across the UK, with a serious illness or disability, to Florida.

“Parents are not allowed, but instead a huge volunteer team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other helpers look after the children for ten days. Dreamflight is not just a holiday; it does something that medicine can’t.

Mr Clark's decorations. Photo: Frank Clark.Mr Clark's decorations. Photo: Frank Clark.

“The children get the opportunity to discover independence, confidence, and a whole new outlook on life.

“Often for the first time, they realise that they are not the odd one out.

“They see children around them who have also suffered; they gain perspective, and experience things that they never thought possible.

“Each child’s place costs the charity approximately £3,500.

“Without the help of fundraisers and supporters the trip could not go ahead, as Dreamflight gets no government funding.”

Dreamflight take children aged between eight and 14, and previous children have gone on to be Paralympic champions.

The charity require around £750,000 every year to keep running the flights, and each trip takes around 300 volunteers.

Hitchin-born golfer Ian Poulter is one of the patrons of the charity, and he has previously organised golf days for Dreamflight, raising £22,000.

To support Dreamflight visit www.dreamflight.org or contact the office by emailing office@dreamflight.org or phoning 01494 722733.

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