Spe­cial day with surfers

UK Barbados Nation - - NEWS -

DE­LIGHTED SQUEALS echoed across Peb­bles Beach as the surf com­mu­nity brought wa­ter-filled joy to scores of chil­dren.

The event was the an­nual

For The Love Of Surf­ing, and this year more than 50 spe­cial needs chil­dren, as well as vol­un­teers from the surf­ing com­mu­nity, took part in the two-hour event.

This was the ninth year for the af­fair, and Barry Ban­field, one of the surfers who, along with Me­lanie Pitcher, came up with the idea, was pleased with how it has grown.

“Over the years it’s kinda evolved into an an­nual thing and all the surf schools come and help. It’s just re­ally the surf com­mu­nity giv­ing back to the kids,” he ex­plained, while he de­scribed this year’s turnout of chil­dren as “amaz­ing”.

The chil­dren were drawn from the A.C. Gra­ham De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre, Sun­shine Early Stim­u­la­tion

Cen­tre and Der­rick Smith School and Vo­ca­tional Cen­tre.

“We love what we do; we love surf­ing and we want to share the love we have for surf­ing with oth­ers. This is the per­fect way for us to do it and come to­gether as a com­mu­nity and share the love,” Ban­field told the Bar­ba­dos Na­tion. He said the surf­ing com­mu­nity in­tended to con­tinue the event be­cause of the pos­i­tive im­pact it had on the lives of the chil­dren.

Ha­dyn Rhynd, one of the surfers who vol­un­teered their time, said many of the chil­dren had been look­ing for­ward to the event since sum­mer. Many, he added, were re­peats. Mean­while, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Va­ri­ety The Chil­dren’s Char­ity, Don­nah Rus­sell, said the char­ity had sent in­vi­ta­tions to 50 chil­dren. More turned up.

“We have been do­ing this since 2011. It started with about a dozen.

“When these chil­dren get in the wa­ter, there is equal­ity all around. They squeal and en­joy it just as much as any [other] child would. When they hit the wa­ter, when they get on that surf­board, they are just chil­dren and we are so happy to be able to do this event,” Rus­sell said, as she thanked Cour­tesy Garage for its spon­sor­ship.

She added the day was also a wel­come respite for the par­ents since tak­ing care of a spe­cial needs child was “a 24/7, 365-day-a-year job”. ( HLE)

(Pic­tures by Heather-lynn Evan­son.)

HA­DYN RHYND (cen­tre, kneel­ing in sun­glasses) along with chil­dren and their par­ents af­ter their day in the wa­ter yes­ter­day. In­set, Barry Ban­field.

EX­EC­U­TIVE DIREC­TOR of Va­ri­ety The Chil­dren’s Char­ity, Don­nah Rus­sell.

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