All aboard jumbulance for Austrian adventure

NINE of the 20-strong party going with the Border Holiday Group to Austria next Friday hail from Hawick.

Travelling in a specially-adapted jumbulance bus, the group includes VIPs Keith Gibson, Bob Neish, Alison Ford and Jean Anderson, all of whom will be joined by carers Gordon Jackson, Lesley Fraser, Sue Blackwell, Sheena Nelson and Ex-Cornet Derek Inglis, on what is the group's third visit to Austria since 2003.

Looking ahead to the trip, carer Lesley Fraser told us: "We are heading to a family-run hotel in Lofer, Austria, where we receive a warm welcome and really take over the place for the eight days we are there.

"Due to new EU driving rules, we cannot travel for 24 hours on the bus as we have in the past and are therefore having to change the route. Instead of going from Dover to Calais, we will be travelling overnight on the Hull to Rotterdam ferry which will give the trip a new dimension. It does, however, also mean that we will not get to Lofer until late on Saturday night."

"While at the hotel, the VIPs will have a choice of activities including a day in either Innsbruck or Saltzberg, a boat trip, a cable car ride, mystery tours and, of course, the all-important shopping, as well as relaxing walks in and around Lofer."

Lesley added: "Anything the VIPs want to do we try to do it. We also have a fancy dress night much to the amusement of the Austrian and German guests staying in the hotel.

"We are due to start our return journey on Friday, September 21, and travel to Wiesbaden in Germany for an overnight stay, then on to Rotterdam on the Saturday evening before sailing to the UK on the ferry to Hull."

The Border Holiday Group, which comprises people from around the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, includes eight VIPs, 10 carers, a nurse and the group leader. Some of the group have never been abroad, and the majority have never spent time away from their family and/or main carers before. They are putting their trust in people they don't know too well, who are volunteering their time to give the VIPs a special holiday. The group not only provides a holiday for the VIPs, it also allows their families and carers the opportunity to take a break from looking after them

The Hawick News will feature a full report on the trip when the Border Holiday Group returns from Austria.