The Cushing family from Ravensthorpe, near Northampton, got a huge surprise earlier this year when they applied to children’s charity Merlin’s Magic Wand (MMW) for tickets to Alton Towers Resort.
Rebecca and Andrew Cushing thought a trip to the theme park would be a real treat for the whole family and a great opportunity to spend precious time together. Five-year-old Caitlin Cushing suffers from a rare and debilitating genetic disorder, so days out like these are few and far between. To get the whole family together, including Caitlin’s older sister eight-year-old Elise, is an unusual event.
Imagine their delight when the MMW team got in touch to tell them theirs would be the 500,000th ticket given out in the charity’s 10-year history, and instead of just a free ticket and help with travel…they would be treated to an all-expenses-paid VIP weekend.
With the support of the Alton Towers Resort team they arrived with their complimentary pass to stay overnight at the new CBeebies Land Hotel, and during the course of two fun-filled days met her favourite TV friends in Big Fun Showtime in CBeebies Land, enjoyed lots of rides and an amazing meal in the resort’s Rollercoaster Restaurant.
“It was a really lovely weekend. Caitlin is a really happy child in spite of the difficulties she faces and was always going to have a great time, but it was also a good break for her Dad and I and a thoroughly deserved treat for Elise. Because Caitlin needs constant support Elise doesn’t get nearly as much attention as other children her age, but she takes care of herself without complaint and is a really great help."Rebecca Cushing
MMW supports children facing serious illness, disability or adversity, giving families magical days out at Merlin attractions across the world.
MMW has even built more than 40 magical sensory experiences in schools, hospices and hospitals worldwide for those children too ill to travel. Staff regularly visit childrens’ homes and community centres to entertain youngsters with things like SEA LIFE touch-pools, LEGO® play kits and a host more fun elements from their attractions.
“This is a real milestone for Merlin’s Magic Wand. Being able to support so many families and provide our 500,000th ticket in our 10th Birthday year makes it even more magical. We can’t continue this amazing work without the support of our employees, guests and generous contributors. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to you all. Alone we can do a little, together we can do a lot.”Erin Woods, Charity Manager