Minibus gala draws maxi smiles at Lincs retirement park

Visitors helping to swell funds included park residents and their guests, plus members of the local community

FAMILY FUN at The Elms retirement park in Lincolnshire was all in a good cause this summer as residents raised both smiles and funds for their minibus appeal.

The annual gala day at the Torksey park was the biggest and best-attended to date with guests enjoying a raft of attractions and entertainment under a cloudless sky.

They ranged from food and wine tastings to bric-a-brac and book stalls, plus games and challenges including shove ha’penny and piloting radio-controlled boats on the park’s lake.

Local businesses also generously put their hands in their pockets to provide donations for a series of auctions featuring items from hampers to holidays.

And after guests had departed, a count-up of cash revealed that more than £1,600 had been raised to help ensure the residents’ mini-bus will stay firmly on the road.

They’ve been framed: a fun photo-booth contributed towards the takings

The 16-seat vehicle provides regular outings, expeditions and shopping trips for occupiers of the 340 park homes at The Elms, all of whom are in or near retirement.

The gala day was planned by members of the park’s minibus fundraising committee, some of whom also work as volunteer drivers of the vehicle.

Residents at The Elms bought their first minibus around 20 years ago to help provide even greater freedom and flexibility for those wanting to get out and about.

Replacement vehicles every five or six years, and their running costs, are funded entirely by money raised through various events, and by donations from the family-run park business.

Tracey Coulson, a director of The Elms and a member of the park-owning Kinch family, said the minibus plays a valuable part in the lives of many residents:

“The one thing people quickly discover when they move here is that there is no need for anyone to feel isolated or left with too much time on their hands!” she said.

“For those who like making new friends and getting out and about, there are plenty of opportunities – and the minibus plays a vital role in enabling this.

“We were delighted to supply marquees for the gala which is itself a fantastic social get-together  for residents, their friends and relations, and members of the local community,” Tracey added.

The Elms has been under the Kinch family’s ownership for over 35 years, and its park homes for people aged 50-plus are located in 65 acres of landscaped grounds.

There is more information about the park on its website at www.elmsretirementpark.co.uk.

The minibus serves an important role in the social lives of residents at The Elms, says director Tracey Coulson

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