Restaurateur hands over £47,500 minibus to therapy centre

GENEROUS Fence restauranteur Kevin Berkins presented children at a specialist therapy centre with a new minibus.

Mr Berkins, owner of the Fence Gate Inn at Fence – and also the Eagle at Barrow in the Ribble Valley – bought the £47,500 minibus from money raised at his annual charity ball in November, and at other fund-raising events at his gastro pubs and delicatessen shop.

The Rainbows Developmental Therapy Unit based at the Holden Centre, Barrowford, provides intensive specialist therapy for children with special needs and complex medical needs from across Burnley and Pendle. To ensure that all children who need its services can attend Rainbows, volunteer drivers and staff provide a minibus service, picking up any who are facing transport difficulties.

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Their first bus was bought after a year-long charity appeal more than 15 years ago, and desperately needed replacing.

Beverley Hargreaves, manager at Rainbows, said: “Our old bus had served us really well and allowed us to give a little extra help to families who would otherwise struggle to access our services, but after 15 years it was on its last legs. Kevin has raised lots of money for Rainbows in the past and often pops in to see how we’re doing. Last year, he asked if he could give us some help with the minibus. He’s put in an absolutely brilliant effort and managed to raise all the money.”

Mr Berkins added: “I pass the Holden Centre every morning on my way into work, and my wife Michelle runs a ladieswear shop in Barrowford. We like to give something back to the community, and we are always very humbled by the fantastic work done at Rainbows”.