Devon park rallies support for family of courage

 The Pinchin family (above) enjoyed the hospitality of Hele Valley Holiday Park and other local businesses
The Pinchin family (above) enjoyed the hospitality of Hele Valley Holiday Park and other local businesses

The big-hearted owners of Hele Valley Holiday Park in Ifracombe made headlines this summer when they set out to create lifelong memories for a deserving family.

With the help of their local newspaper, Sandra and David Dovey launched a search for a family who had truly earned a proper break, but who could not manage it without help.

Their generous offer to host a free week-long holiday was highlighted by the North Devon Journal which invited nominations from readers.

The lucky family would not only enjoy an all-inclusive stay on the park, but also receive the hospitality of a raft of other local businesses which had got behind their initiative.

The free add-ons ranged from restaurant meals to kayaking and a family boat trip along the North Devon coastline as well as other fun experiences.

From the many suggestions received, the family finally chosen were Helen and Andy Pinchin, and their two children Samuel, 6, and Katie, 4, from Loddiswell in South Devon.

Samuel is presently recovering from leukaemia, and his mum works as a paediatric nurse.

Sandra Dovey: creating happy holiday memories
Sandra Dovey: creating happy holiday memories

Sandra and David’s family has owned Hele Valley Holiday park for over 40 years, and last year was named in the Devon Tourism Awards as Camping and Caravanning Park of the Year.

Set in picturesque Devon countryside, it provides luxury holiday homes torhomes and tents.

Sandra commented: “You hear of so many sad cases of families struggling against the odds, and we just wanted to find somebody who would really benefit from a break.

“We, and the other businesses which supported us, hoped this would be a chance for them to create some new happy ones.

“The Pinchin family are courageous, caring and determined to do the best for their children, despite having suffered setbacks in their lives.

“I just think it’s so important to do that with a really deserving family,” added Sandra.

Sam was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was three years old, said mum Helen, and there have been many, many hospital visits and close calls with death, including liver failure.

Sam is now doing very well now, she added, and has four-monthly check-ups just to make sure that everything is okay.

Pictures of the Pinchin family enjoying their stay were splashed in the North Devon Journal which helped the Doveys in their hunt, and reported that everyone had a wonderful time.

Sandra said that the inspiration for the idea had come from the park’s office manager Jessica Issac, and that the park would be creating similar opportunities in the years ahead.

There is more information about the park at