HOW IT ALL BEGAN
In 1991 a Chester Chronicle employee who had been involved with various fundraising events for many different charities decided to set up a charity that would enable children with a terminal illness, sickness of disability to have the 'Holiday of a Lifetime' to either Lapland or Disneyland Paris, which had just opened that year. Tecwyn Williams along with his wife Linda came up with the name and Miles of Smiles was born!
Five years later Tecwyn then moved on to other charitable causes but the rest of the committee and fundraisers continued along over the years, along with Gary Horton who is the only surviving committee member, and over the 25 years well over a million pounds has been raised.
Over 300 children have been on one of the trips that used to be annually, but unfortunately, due to the recent recession is now having to be every other year.
A lot of money is involved to organise one of these trips - approximately £40,000, which would cover the costs of normally 18 children plus parent/carer, coach pick-up from both Deeside and Chester, flights from Manchester airport to Charles de Gaulle in Paris and onwards to Disneyland Paris.
The accommodation is a 5-star hotel and VIP badges and special passes for the rides so that there is no queuing and meal vouchers are provided for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The trip ends with a sightseeing tour 'round Paris on the way back to the airport with a stop off at the Eiffel Tower and a packed lunch.
The trip is both beneficial for both the child and the parent/carer and memories are made that stay with them for a lifetime.
Many people decide to do some fundraising for Miles of Smiles once they have been on the trip, the comments are so positive, and they would like other children to have the same experience.
25 years later and we are a small committee of five volunteers and have been involved with Miles of Smiles for a while before being given the opportunity and privilege of being responsible for carrying on with this worthwhile cause.
Over the past 25 years there have been many people individually and as either groups, associations, businesses and companies that have helped to raise money in many different ways from running on a treadmill in a supermarket to Christmas fairs and lots of other imaginative ways and whether it is £5 or £5000, we greatly appreciate every penny and all monies go towards the next trip.