Grenfell Tower families and firefighters offered free seaside holidays

Hundreds of free stays have been offered through a Facebook group organised by two Devon women

Chantal da Silva
Sunday 06 August 2017 21:36
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Affected residents may get trips to places such as Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Yorkshire
Affected residents may get trips to places such as Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Yorkshire

Families who survived the Grenfell Tower disaster and the firefighters who rushed to save them are being offered hundreds of free, crowd-sourced holidays.

Hundreds of holiday stays are being made available by members of the Grenfell Tower Holiday Appeal group on Facebook, organised by two Devon women.

Angie Mays and Kay Gilbert, two friends from Ilfracombe, originally started the initiative to help firefighters “come to terms with what they have experienced that night and after”.

However, the pair soon extended the offers to families who survived the blaze.

“It’s just been amazing. We’ve got over 400 holidays. We’ve had messages from Australia, New Zealand, people offering their places,” Ms Mays told Sky News.

“We’ve had people book to go on holiday in Spain, Yorkshire, just all over really. There’s no end to where people have messaged us from, it’s incredible, so much support.”

Several organisations have also risen to the challenge, including charity Play Association and Felpham Sailing Club, which has offered families seaside holidays.

One family that took up the offer told Sky it has made a real difference.

“It’s amazing. From the moment I saw the sea. Breathing the air... it’s something different,” Nabila, whose family has been unable to return to their home near Grenfell Tower since the fire, told the broadcaster.

“We’re really grateful, we’re so honoured to have this moment of a day and to see [the children] smiling and say ‘it was the best day!’”

Less than a third of the Government’s offers of housing have been accepted by survivors, with claims that a number of the properties were highly unsuitable.

The majority of the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed at least 80 people, remain in emergency accommodation, seven weeks after the devastating blaze.

Additional reporting by PA

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