“No matter where you go, you can always find fine people”
Helping children visit the seaside in the 1950’s
“No matter where you go, you can always find fine people” begins an article in the Manchester Weekly News, dated 14th October 1950. The article refers to Rachael Dewhurst, who organised annual trips to the Blackpool seaside for children living in a heavily populated and bombed-out area of Manchester – 25 years before our charity was founded.
Rachael’s son, Joe Dewhurst, recently got in touch with the charity to tell us about his mother’s amazing work, after hearing about us in a national newspaper.
“My mother was born in a fairly nice area of Lancashire in 1918, and moved to the more deprived, crime-ridden centre of Manchester. In the 1940’s, she saw families who didn’t have any money, they struggled to find food and clothes, and everything was heavily rationed. The kids had such a rough time, but my mother had seen a different way of life and wanted to bring joy to the children’s lives. She had a real drive, energy and confidence.”
Knowing that a lot of the children had never visited anywhere outside of the area or been on public transport, Rachael developed a social conscience to take them on seaside trips. She sold raffle tickets to win produce donated from local businesses, which funded coaches and goodie bags filled with fruit, toffees and sandwiches for children on the trip.
The trips grew fairly rapidly, with an extra coach being acquired each year, until 4/5 coach loads of children were making the annual journey from Manchester to Blackpool, before Rachael sadly fell ill with cancer and was no longer able to organise such trips.
Rachael’s son, Joe, went on every trip organised by his mother, and even now nearly 70 years later, the memories of these days out at the seaside remain as strong as ever.
“I remember clearly that first trip. One of the girls in all her excitement stepped off the coach and ran onto the sand, along the beach and straight into the sea fully clothed! Of course she didn’t know that’s not what you’re meant to do, but I remember that so well.”
The seaside has always been a place held in great fondness in the hearts of the British public. And the benefits of these days out taken as young children are still as important as ever, with the memories lasting a lifetime. We’re proud to hear about wonderful people like Rachael as we continue our work in helping families have a much-needed break.