Published: December 1, 2010
Burnham charity to benefit from Santa sleigh hovercraft rides

A new tourist hovercraft which has been designed to look like Santa's Sleigh started offering pleasure trips along Burnham-On-Sea beach on Wednesday (December 1st).

The service, run by commercial hovercraft operator Hovabout, is offering families rides along the beach at a cost of £7 per person for a five minute trip during the run-up to Christmas with proceeds going to charity.

Burnham Cerebral Palsy sufferer Trevor Hayes was the first customer on the service on Wednesday, as pictured above, since Hovabout will be raising cash for Burnham's Medical Equipment Fund.

The Medical Equipment Fund gave Trevor a £5,000 communication device five years ago following a successful Christmas fundraising appeal - and a fresh campaign has been launched this week for a new communication aid.

"Trevor has a wheelchair with padding and needs a bracket to fit his computer so that he can send emails and surf the web," the Medical Equipment Fund's Tom Ashton told Burnham-On-Sea.com.

"He is not able to get about so the Internet is vital to him. The device costs just £200 and we would like to help him by buying the device before Christmas," added Tom. "Trevor had a beaming smile on his face after the trip on the Santa hovercraft."

Hovabout's Paul Barnett told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Our craft has been designed to look like Santa's sleigh and glides along the sand with two reindeer leading the way. Having already carried out pre-trial rides to a number of local schoolchildren, the feedback we have received has been 100 per cent positive. The children think it's great."

The rides will be available from December 1st-24th during the daytime and a normal tourist service will then launch in the New Year.

Sedgemoor District Council Chairman Jane Moreton was among the VIPs at Wednesday's launch of the rides on Burnham beach.

Hovabout is supporting former forces members who have been injured during conflict by employing them as pilots, also raising money for Help For Heroes. Former rifleman Jamie Cooper is among those piloting the craft.

 


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