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Kates Story

Kate's Story

Kate and her granddaughter, Kayla had a transformative holiday in Clacton-on-Sea. The getaway has given them a much-needed opportunity to grieve together and create positive memories, bringing a sense of release and joy after the tragic loss of Kayla’s mother.

Kate's granddaughter, Kayla enjoying candy floss.

I wanted to eat candy floss all day!

Seven-year-old Kayla is remembering what she first thought when she found out that she would be going on holiday to the resort of Clacton-on-Sea.

A photo of Kate's granddaughter, Kayla wearing sunglasses sitting on the couch.

Cared for her by her grandmother Kate, Kayla’s life changed beyond all recognition earlier this year when her mum tragically passed away. She had been ill for a long time with kidney disease and lupus but her death at the age of just 31 still came as a huge shock.

A photo of Kate's granddaughter, Kayla drawing and Kate standing opposite to Kayla watching her draw.

Recognising that Kayla and her grandmother needed to spend some time together outside of the family home in Southwark, Emma – a practitioner with School-Home Support, an organisation that supports vulnerable families – nominated them for a break with Family Holiday Charity.

There was a need I felt for them to grieve together. It’s such a profound bereavement that they were going through.

Kate's granddaughter, Kayla playing with bubbles.

Emma continues,

Grandma was over the moon when she heard the news. I think she thought I was joking. Her granddaughter was so excited and she came up to me the next day and said: ‘I’m going on holiday and I’m going on a train’. I think there was even a countdown – five days’ time, four days’ time…

Because her mum used to have dialysis three times a week, Kayla hadn’t been away before and just the journey from London to Clacton-on-Sea proved exciting in its own right.

A photo of Kate's granddaughter, Kayla.

Kate chuckles, 

The train wasn’t full so she sat down like a queen, putting her iPad out, her crisps, her drink – she had her own table. She was so happy for the whole journey. She loved it.

Kayla having eggs and plantain for breakfast.

For Kate, the trip was also a chance for her to temporarily put to one side the darkness of the months leading up to her daughter’s death and the hardship she experienced in trying to give her a proper funeral. Helped by a relative, she was able to set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise the necessary funds.


It’s not easy to bury people in Southwark, it costs almost £10,000.

Kayla enjoying a swing in the amusement park.

Kate could see instantly that the holiday was doing her granddaughter a lot of good.

At home, Kayla would wake up and cry: ‘Grandma, I miss my mum. Hug me, I can’t sleep’. But that holiday helped to wave some of that thinking away and to make her happy. We needed that time together.

Kayla riding a bumper boats in the amusement park.

Kayla is still buzzing when she recalls when they got up to.

We went to the funfair, the beach, on the Ferris wheel, ate some ice cream, candy floss and slushies. Holiday is much better than school because it’s so fun!

A photo of Kate and Kayla in front of the holiday park entrance.

When they got back to Southwark, Emma really noticed the difference in them both. She tries to put it into words.

I think there was a sense of release. They had had such a heaviness about them. They had gone through so much hurt and heartache. Those four days away were an opportunity not to forget because you can’t forget everything that’s going on but it was a new environment so it was a chance for them to really embrace their surroundings and create positive memories.

Kayla ready to get on a ride in the amusement park.

Kate continues,

I’ve seen a bit of life come back in them both after such tragic circumstances. There was one picture of Kayla on a train and she had the biggest smile on her face. That picture said it all.

Kate's Story

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