THE Milne family has thanked the people of Whitby for making its dream of a family Christmas come true.
Parents Iain and Louise feared they and children Dale (15), Jordan (13) and Kelsey (7) would have to be split up or spend Christmas Day in a hospital because their home at St Peter’s Court hasn’t been adapted yet to accommodate Dale’s wheelchair.
But thanks to the generosity of holiday cottage owner Jackie Richardson, Dale arrived in Whitby this week.
He and his family, along with grandparents Eileen and Richard Kirby, will celebrate Christmas at the cottage at Sandsend.
They are now looking forward to a turkey Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and Dale is even going to eat his sprouts.
Mum Louise said: “I was on my way to James Cook when I got the phone call to say she would offer us the place and I was absolutely gobsmacked.
“Since then we have been up a couple of times and when we dropped all the stuff off it was lovely to see the Christmas tree done up which was very emotional but it has been playing on my mind it won’t be like last year or the same ever again.
“Even though we can see the abbey it doesn’t feel like we
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are at home, it feels like we are on holiday. We could have had spinal flat and been together but it would have been in a hospital environment.”
Dad Iain added that the family will be making the best of the situation.
He said: “I am more black and white, this has happened we have got to adjust. I don’t dwell on it otherwise it would do you in.
“It is the fact that she has gone out of her way. Someone else could have phoned up for that cottage but she has put herself out to help us out.”
The family have also paid tribute to the generosity of Whitby people, some of whom they have never met but have organised and contributed to fundraising events.
Louise said: “It is pretty heartwarming to know that people out there are thinking of us. For all the fundraising that has been going on since the beginning, we would like to say a big thankyou to them and the town in general.”
In a twist of fate, Christmas Day will be six months since Dale suffered life changing injuries and was left paralysed from the neck down after he broke it while playing in the sea.
He has spent that time since on the long road to recovery at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Louise and Iain have been trained by experts at James Cook on how to deal with the side effects of his injuries, how to feed him and how to position him in bed properly.
Dale is also attending the Green Lane centre one day a week to do maths and english and ICT lessons but admits he has been apprehensive about coming out of hospital.
He told the Gazette: “I can’t believe I have spent half a year in hospital because of a stupid accident.
“I feel really insecure when there is nobody around, unless I know where my mum and dad are.
“But I am glad I am here and I will be fine here in a normal house and the most normal thing is I don’t have to argue with Jordan about who goes on the Xbox first.