A CHARITY supporting the siblings of poorly youngsters has given dozens of families a much needed holiday during the past year.

Sponsor a Sibling bought its first caravan last January to provide a holiday retreat for families of severely sick children to give them the chance to relax and make precious memories.

Laura Rolph-Wills, of Grafton Road, Dovercourt, launched Sponsor a Sibling in 2016.

Her youngest son Harry, nine, suffers from a rare form of Batten disease, resulting in him gradually losing his sight and mobility.

She set up the charity after realising her eldest son Joshua was affected by his brother's illness and wanted to help siblings like him.

Laura said Sponsor a Sibling has now provided more than 25 holidays in its caravan.

The aim of the caravan is to support siblings who might take on extra responsibilities and miss out on trips and treats due to the health of their brother or sister.

Laura said: "We have finished 2018 with a bang paying £4,600 site fees ensuring we can provide another year's holidays in our fabulous caravan - a very proud moment.

"We also by provided 50 siblings with a Christmas goody bag which was despatched over the Christmas period."

The caravan costs about £10,000 a year to run and families not meeting the criteria may be able to pay to rent it with all funds going towards maintenance and upkeep.

Laura said she hopes 2019 will be as exciting and successful as the previous year.

She said: "We know there are many families that will enter the New Year at the stroke of midnight contemplating what the year to follow may bring or the many families that will find it a stark reminder of the heart break that the past year or so has endured.

"For many hearing this, luckily this is unimaginable, but for those affected we send you love and hugs."

To sponsor a sibling or find out more about the charity visit sponsorasibling.co.uk.