Here at Sovereign, we are proud to work in partnership with Make-A-Wish, the charity that grants magical wishes to enrich the lives of children and young people in the UK fighting life-threatening conditions.
Back in July, we were delighted to be able to help grant a wish to a Make-A-Wish child. Eight-year-old Lily, who is living with cerebral palsy, wished to have a sunny holiday where she could build sandcastles.
Before her wish, Lily’s mum shared with us what the build-up was like. She said Lily knew she was going on holiday to Lanzarote, but didn’t know when it would be and was very excited and kept asking “is it today”.
It all started for Lily on the plane when she got to meet the crew. Her name was put on the PA system where she was invited to be an air hostess and sell charity scratch cards. Then to Lily’s amazement, she got to meet the captain.
Because Lily got to meet the pilot, they were delayed getting off the plane, missing the bus to the terminal. This turned out to be the best part! They enjoyed a special trip to the terminal in a maintenance truck, which Lily thought was wonderful.
On arrival at the hotel they were met by a giant duck – the hotel mascot, Kiko. Kiko welcomed them and there was also a toy Kiko waiting for Lily in her room. She still loves to play with it back in England.
The surprises didn’t end there. The family were given another surprise – she had her own bucket and spade in the room.
Lily and mum and dad enjoyed many days playing together at the swimming pool, as well as putting that bucket and spade to good use on the beach. One day the hotel surprised them with a trip to Rancho Texas, a nearby zoo, and arranged for Lily to swim with a sea lion. They got the real VIP treatment, skipping queues, the lot!
Make-A-Wish told us that Lily has autism and has problems with animal interaction. To her parents’ amazement and disbelief, Lily put the wetsuit and shoes on and sat at the edge of the pool and even stroked the sea lion a couple of times, which was a huge step for her.
The rest of holiday meant more pool and family time for Lily. Her parents couldn’t get her out the pool! By the end of the week she was swimming with armbands on rather than her inflatable vest.
Sally, Lily’s mum, said the hotel couldn’t do enough to help the family and they really got to know Lily. Mum Sally said that the guest relations staff really bonded with Lily and she told us that when Lily tried on the headset of one of the crew at guest relations to pretend to be like her, this was actually one of her favourite bits of the whole trip.
She said the entertainment at the hotel was great. Staff did a production of Mamma Mia one evening and Lily knew a lot of the songs from school and she just loved joining in with the songs and she was allowed to stay up as a special treat. Princess Yaiza came and met Lily at the end of the holiday too and had her photo taken with Lily. Lily really stole the hearts of everyone at the hotel.
Sally, Lily’s mum “The hotel was incredible, it was a 5 star hotel and it really was 5 star, when you pulled up to it, it really took your breath away. It really was incredible. Everything about it was amazing, we all had such a brilliant time. We can’t thank you enough, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
We hope to grant more wishes to children like Lily in the future.
If you would like to donate £1 (or more) when making a booking with us, just let your Trusted Adviser know and they would be happy to help.
Read more about this fantastic charity here.