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Callum's dolphin dream comes true

PUBLISHED: 11:37 26 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:22 05 July 2010

Callum and his mum Beverley make friends with a dolphin in Florida.

Callum and his mum Beverley make friends with a dolphin in Florida.

A truly magical holiday - that was how the mother of a severely disabled boy last night described his chance-of-a-lifetime swimming with dolphins.

When the collapse of a tour operator left six-year-old Callum Knights and his family stranded at Gatwick airport, their holiday dreams were left in tatters.

A truly magical holiday - that was how the mother of a severely disabled boy last night described his chance-of-a-lifetime swimming with dolphins.

When the collapse of a tour operator left six-year-old Callum Knights and his family stranded at Gatwick airport, their holiday dreams were left in tatters.

But a fortnight ago a mystery benefactor offered to fund their £6,000 trip and now the family has returned to Lowestoft after the holiday of a lifetime.

Callum, who has cerebral palsy, was due to swim with dolphins in Florida, but the family's trip was cancelled on September 12 after the collapse of tour operator XL Leisure Group.

Luckily just hours after a miserable drive back to Lowestoft, a woman known only as Jenny from Halesworth - who had heard the disappointed family talking on the radio - paid more than £6,000 for them to travel to America.

Now they are back at home in Bloomsbury Close after ten days in Disneyland and mum Beverley Spencer said that being given the chance to go on holiday was worth all the tears and heartache.

She said: “It was absolutely fantastic. Callum was a totally different little boy - at home he can be hyperactive and hard work, but on holiday there was so much to entertain him, he was very good.

“He is deaf as well as disabled so it is often hard to make him understand, but he was overwhelmed by everything going on at Disneyland. The staff were all brilliant and he was able to go on lots of rides in his wheelchair.”

Callum spent time swimming with dolphins, which Mrs Spencer said made the whole trip worth while. “It was lovely just to see the look on his face - that was worth all the panic, tears and upset.

“It was as if there was some sort of strange connection with the dolphins, he was very calm and really enjoyed it. When we were saving up to go, we hoped that it would be a truly magical holiday, and it was. We'll never forget it.”

Mrs Spencer, her husband Jason and Callum's grandparents had spent more than a year saving up for the holiday, but are still not sure whether they will get back any of the £6,000 they paid.

Mrs Spencer said: “It was amazing that somebody was so kind and paid for our trip. I didn't dare believe it was happening until we landed there because we'd had so much disappointment.

“I'd love to meet the lady who paid for it and give her a big hug. It gives you a real sense of hope when complete strangers do such lovely things for others. It's nice to know that there are such kind people out there.

“We were so lucky to have had our holiday, it was worth so much more than the money we've lost. We'll definitely be saving up to go to America again.”

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