A trip to the seaside: Fundraiser to take Sidcup's isolated, elderly residents to the beach needs your help
PUBLISHED: 10:17 12 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:47 12 May 2017
Firefighters at Sidcup station are organising the trip
Fundraising firefighters are appealing for the public’s help to get some of Sidcup’s most isolated residents out of their homes and down the seaside.
Sara Belmont from Sidcup fire station is organising the trip on June 4, which aims to bring about 60 elderly residents to Eastbourne for the day.
“We first came up with the idea in Christmas 2015, I saw a billboard saying ‘nobody needs to be alone at Christmas’ and it really hit home.
“I was working the Christmas Day shift that year, and thought, why not do something? So together with my watch we put up posters and invited elderly residents from around the town who were on their own to come along and have dinner with us at the station.
“Neighbours would call us telling us about the people next door who might be on their own, and so we ended with 60 people coming.
“We managed to raise £621 for the meal, and with the money left over, we decided to take everyone down to Bexhill-on-Sea, now our watch manager Neil Fox said we should do the same again this year.”
But with the fundraising pot running dry, the Sidcup fire crew has gone online to ask for help in organising this year’s event.
So far the appeal has raised nearly £400 of its £600 target.
“I can’t believe the generosity of people,” said Mrs Belmont, who has been a firefighter since 2011.
“This day means so much to everyone who goes along, we have one gentleman who is 94-years-old and last year before the trip to the beach he said he hadn’t seen anyone for two weeks.
“Some of the women there have dementia and can seem a bit hollow, but on the way down there we put on some old war songs and it just lights them up, everyone is singing all the way there.
“This year we’ll have everyone who came last year, plus we’re working with Contact the Elderly, which means we’ll have a few new faces joining us.”
To help Sidcup Fire Station raise enough money for the trip, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/OAPseaside.