Derbyshire children with additional or special educational needs had a fantastic day on Friday, 22nd April, when they attended the fifth annual funfair organised and supported by the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity.

Over 1,200 children from 27 different groups from all around the Province enjoyed free coach transfers from and back to their schools.  They were treated to as many free fairground rides as they could fit in, as well as hot dogs, candy floss and refreshments.

IN PICTURE: Lynne Birchell, 45 of Hilton rides a giant slide with her daughter, Abbie Birchell, six, who attends the Stanton Vale School in Long Eaton, during a free fun day organised by Derbyshire Freemasons held at West Park in Long Eaton.STORY: SPREAD: **PICTURE SPREAD PLEASE** PICS ARE FOR NOTTM POST & DERBY TELEGRAPHDerbyshire freemasons are hosting a free fun day for 1200 terminally ill and sick children from across the county in Long Eaton tomorrow from 11am until 1pm at West Park, Long Eaton, behind the leisure centre.  Sky News and Radio Derby are going – Rachel is happy to go too – think you will get a spread if we can get lots of pix of faces. Long Eaton does well on the web too.PHOTOGRAPHER: JOSEPH RAYNOR

Since its inception in 2012, when the first 500 children attended, it has now become the highlight of the year for many and continues to grow from strength to strength.

The fair was initially organised after showmen noticed that some children with special needs were being ridiculed by some less sympathetic members of the public.  Children with autism, downs syndrome, learning difficulties and mobility problems were not attending due to these taunts.  This was distressing for the children and their parents and carers.  A survey had revealed that 79% of these children felt socially isolated and 28% questioned had actually been asked to leave a public place!

As a result, the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity was asked whether it would be prepared to organise and support a funfair if the showmen provided the rides and facilities at one of their sites. The Freemasons of Derbyshire are delighted to work in partnership with Erewash Borough Council, who provide the site, to arrange such an event for the enjoyment and betterment of the community at large.

The children come from schools and other specialist provisions in Buxton, High Peak, Burton-on-Trent, Central Derby, Alfreton, Chinley and other areas from around the Province.

As usual the Fire & Rescue Service, Police and St John Ambulance all attended to support the event.  This year saw Emporium Productions filming for a documentary to be screened on Sky TV early next year, as well as Radio Derby reporting live on the day and articles in the press from the Derby Evening Telegraph and Nottingham Post.  The event will also be covered in the Showman’s trade newspaper, ‘The World’s Fair’.

The event as always was organised for the Provincial Grand Charity by W Bros. Philip Bowler and Graham Sisson.

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