Club La Costa World Resorts & Hotels will play host to the first military family to enjoy a holiday in the sun under the Give Us Time initiative launched by former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox.
Captain Anthony Harris, 31, his wife Elizabeth, and two children, Felix (5) and Emily (3), will today (August 10) fly to Tenerife to enjoy a week long family holiday at Club La Costa World’s Sunningdale Village holiday resort.
The Give Us Time project was launched in June under the charity Afghan Heroes, set up by mothers as a legacy to the sons and daughters who have lost their lives during the Afghan conflict. It aims to provide holidays for armed service families to recover from the trauma of combat and to adjust in a neutral and quality environment.
Captain Harris, from Great Missenden, Bucks, was injured after his Jackal armoured vehicle was destroyed by an IED (improvised explosive device), which resulted in him later losing the lower part of his left leg. He serves in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and has shown huge determination to not only overcome serious injury but to dedicate himself to raising funds for service charities, supporting families whose lives have been changed by combat.
He said: “This is a great initiative to allow families time and space to enjoy each others company again after what can be harrowing times and truly life changing situations. My tour of Afghanistan was my sixth in seven years and during each one of the periods away my family worried about what was going to happen, and when I was injured it was a huge shock.
“The military, my regiment and many service charities all played a big part in getting me to the point where I am now. It is a great privilege to be chosen as the first family to take part in one of these holidays, given so generously by individuals and companies like Club La Costa World. After the tumultuous last three years it will be a welcome break to bond as a family again away from the recovery process.”
Dr Fox called on holiday home operators, second home owners and timeshare companies and owners to donate weeks which could be used by service personnel and their families for recuperation after a tour of duty, by families who have lost a loved one and by those who have suffered mental or physical injury in combat.
A database has been set up to register donated weeks and Club La Costa World was one of the first companies to sign up. Since the launch of the initiative nearly ten years worth of holiday time has already been pledged.
CLC World Managing Director Martyn Aldridge said: “We warmly applaud this initiative and are delighted to play our part in making available holiday accommodation when we can. Our service personnel do a difficult job and it is important to show our appreciation for the work they do, and to support the families of those who have lost loved ones or who are coping with long term injury. A relaxing holiday can be an important tool in the recuperation process, and we very much hope that Captain Harris and his family enjoy their time in Tenerife.”
Denise Harris, founder of Afghan Heroes, whose son Lee lost his life in Afghanistan, said: “This fantastic response and generosity means that we can now help a huge number of families who will be able to spend quality time together to readjust and relax in a stress free environment. The holiday that Captain Harris and his family will enjoy thanks to CLC World will be just the first as we start to roll out a programme that will benefit so many service families whose lives have been affected and in some cases completely changed. The launch of Give Us Time and the fantastic reaction from the public and a number of companies means we can help many families and make a real difference to helping them readjust together.”