The owners of a Scottish holiday park company have chosen Meningitis Now as their charity of the year after experiencing first hand how devastating the disease can be
Fundraising efforts will include a fun treadmill challenge – which also celebrates a new driving route through Scotland that takes in most of the area where the parks are located.
Sarah Wood, of Wood Leisure Holiday Parks, said that every year they chose a charity to support but that this year it had been an easy decision after her father fell ill with bacterial meningitis.
Wood Leisure is a family-owned holiday park group that has been welcoming visitors from the UK and beyond since 1981. It includes six holiday parks – Lomond Woods in Balloch, Loch Lomond; Blairgowrie and Corriefodly parks in Perthshire, Campsie Glen and Callander Woods in Stirlingshire; and Deeside Holiday Park in Aberdeenshire.
“As a very close family, this came as a huge shock to us seeing him so ill and we were devastated,” Sarah said.
“The doctors prepared us for the worst and even when he started to show signs of improvement they prepared us for all the serious after-effects that can result from meningitis”.
Several different fundraisers
Sarah said that Wood Leisure, which is based in Perthshire but has several sites across Scotland, would be organising several different fundraisers over the course of the year to raise money – including sporting events like 10ks, bake sales and raffles. On World Meningitis Day they also held a Superhero Day.
The treadmill challenge is a team effort to walk or jog 200 miles – in celebration of Heart 200, a new route in Scotland taking in most of the Wood Leisure Holiday Parks. Sarah said they would have a treadmill in their offices at different weekends in August and members of their team and customers were welcome to join in to help them reach their target.
At the end of the month, the head office team would complete a 24-hour relay walk to highlight the importance of recognising the signs and symptoms. Sarah said they would be taking donations and sponsorship from guests, suppliers, family and friends during this time.
Another initiative the generous family has set up is to offer breaks to people and families who have suffered from meningitis, as one of their ways of helping others like they themselves were supported by Meningitis Now when their father was ill.
“Myself and my sisters used the website to access information and I read through the stories of others on your social media pages,” she said.
“When things were tough it was nice to hear other stories”.
Viv Jones, Meningitis Now’s Community Fundraiser for Scotland, said it was so inspiring to hear of the efforts of the Wood family and staff at the holiday park.
“We are always grateful when we hear how hard our supporters are working to raise funds and awareness for us – and Wood Leisure seems to be putting in a proper superhero effort!” she said.
“Good luck with everything you’re doing and we look forward to hearing more about your events”.