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A group of brave children, who have experienced the death of a loved one, benefited from a special day out in London on a first class train, thanks to East Midlands Trains.
East Midlands Trains’ Driver, Matt Goodlad, was so moved when he heard the children’s stories during a feature on the work of Ashgate Hospice on local radio station Peak FM, that he decided he wanted to do something to help.
With the agreement of the Managing Director, David Horne, East Midlands Trains donated a trip down to London in a first class carriage; a very welcome treat for 21 children. Matt and his colleagues also worked tirelessly to raise enough money to buy tickets for all the children to go on the London Eye.
The children eagerly waited at Chesterfield train station on 21st August for the 08.39 to London and Ashley Bear was there to wave to the children as they embarked on their incredible journey!
Tracey Brailsford, Ashgate Hospice’s Family Support Team Manager, said, “It was such a brilliant day and everyone was so lovely, right from the driver of the train who let the children see what the driver’s cab was like, to the catering staff who somehow managed to cook burger and chips for everyone on the way home – on top of catering for all the other passengers on the train!”
Matt travelled to London with the children and also secured free Oyster travel cards for everyone for the day. He also bought a massive cake for one of the children whose birthday was the next day and made model balloons on the way home, which soon woke the children up after a tiring day out!
The trip was a fantastic opportunity for everyone to get to know one another and crucially, it also helped some of the children realise that they aren’t the only ones that have experienced the death of a parent. The surviving parents also found it useful to meet other parents in the same situation.
Tracey added, “It was a precious day for everyone and I can’t thank Matt, David and East Midlands Trains enough for their generosity.”
David Horne, Managing Director of East Midlands Trains, said: “It was a real highlight for us to be involved in such a memorable trip for the children.
“Matt worked so hard on organising this trip and we’re lucky to have people like him working for East Midlands Trains as well as the rest of our team who made the journey so special for the children. We’re really pleased everybody enjoyed their trip to London and hope it’s a day they will remember for a long time.”
We would also like to thank Central Cars who offered families free transport to and from the station, Jacksons The Bakers who supplied gingerbread men, and Jacksons Dairy who provided juice for the day.