THE Jumbulance rolled out of the Common Haugh in Hawick this morning – destination Austria!
Eight VIPs and 14 carers/helpers were on board the specially designed bus as it embarked on an unforgettable ten-day trip courtesy of the Border Holiday Group (BHG).
And family and friends were there to wave them off.
Forty-five-year-old Russell Molloy, who was heading off on his first trip with the group and who had been up since the crack of dawn, said: “I’m really looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to everything.”
The happy band of travellers are headed for Niederau where there are a huge amount of exciting excursions planned, including a variety of day and half-day trips, a cable car ride, a visit to Berchtesgaden and a possible trip into Northern Italy.
For Linda Forrest this is her second holiday away with the group, having travelled to Germany with them two years ago.
The 48-year-old said: “I can’t wait. I really enjoy seeing all the different places.”
The BHG aims to provide a holiday of a lifetime to Europe for sick and disabled people (VIPs), who would otherwise be unable to travel, and at the same time, give their carers at home a much needed rest.
Group chairman Gordon Jackson, who is also group leader, has been involved in these trips for the last 17 years, initially with a group from Cumbria before founding the BHG in 1998.
He said: “It improves the quality of life and gives an opportunity to experience a holiday away that we take for granted.”
This year’s trip has cost £26,000, which has been funded in a variety of ways. BHG has been the nominated charity of the local Sainsbury’s for the last 12 months, while the group has also undertaken sponsored walks, race nights and coffee mornings.
Mr Jackson added: “This is an all-inclusive holiday and there are no hidden charges for the VIPs once they’re away.
“We are indebted to everyone for all their help and support in making this possible.”