Holiday magic for Potter family
Family holidays over the years build a bank of happy memories. Memories that can be fondly recalled as old photograph albums are dusted down and revisited.
For some families those memories can be very special because the holidays they bring back to mind have made an important impact on the life of a small, vulnerable child. And that’s very true for the Potter family from Wallington in Surrey.
For Gordon and Brenda Potter are super-parents…with seven children of their own, plus three adopted children, the couple have also fostered more than 400 babies and young children over the past 38 years.
The couple became members of CLC World 25 years ago and reckon that since joining more than 100 of their young foster charges have enjoyed summer holidays with them here on the Costa del Sol at Club La Costa World.
“We attended a presentation, bought a fixed week and received a free week and since then we haven’t looked back. We were enchanted by our accommodation on our very first visit and have never forgotten the help and kindness of staff when our luggage went missing at the airport!” said Brenda.
Since joining the couple and the children have stayed in various parts of the resort and loved each one.
“When you are arranging to take out of the country young children who may have issues and be in a vulnerable state it is very important to be able to reassure social workers that your destination is safe, secure, well equipped and welcoming and Club La Costa World has always met these requirements,” said Brenda.
Gordon, who is 76, and Brenda, aged 66, freely recognise they are at an age when most people prefer the role of grand-parent. Hands on for a while and then time to hand back the reins to mum and dad!
But then, this busy couple also have seven grandchildren, aged from 16 years to 18 months, and have been holidaying this August with their daughter Charlotte, her daughters Chloe(12) and Clara (9) plus two of their adopted children, nine-year-old Charlie and seven-year-old Michelle, both of whom have special needs, and a 15-month old little girl who has been fostered since birth and who will join her adoptive parents on returning from holiday
Gordon said:” I know we are getting on a bit but all this activity keeps us going and we must be doing something right because Social Services keep asking us to help out, and we do our very best to help!” So much so that last year within the space of four months the couple were asked to care for three tiny babies.
Over the years the couple have upgraded and moved into points, always holidaying in August, often for six weeks at a time. While Gordon was still working (he retired at 72) Brenda would come on her own and he would join her and the children for three weeks.
“Some might think that was mad. But I have never had a moment of anxiety. Over the years we have watched the resort grow, but it has never lost its family feel, and the staff are truly wonderful. We have known so many of them for so long and they treat us like family when we arrive. I have always felt safe in the knowledge that if I needed help then I would get it,” said Brenda, who trained as a nanny. She added that one of the Potter sons, now a policeman, still asked fondly after a member of staff he knew as a small boy!
“Even on holiday we get calls from Social Services so it’s good to know that while we are here we can chill out. It’s been wonderful over the years to bring with us youngsters who have emotional baggage, who may have been damaged by their experiences, and who have been able to enjoy a holiday in the sun in lovely surroundings along with our own children. We have met other families with children who have special needs and our experience is that they find the same thing,” Brenda added. Each child who leaves the couple has a memory box of their time with them, which includes mementoes of their CLC World holiday.
The Potters reckon they have five years of fostering left in them! Then it will be time to think about spreading their wings and using their membership to travel further afield.