The King and Queen of Merseyside, Rafa Benitez and his wife Montse, donated a caravan to a Liverpool-based children’s charity to put smiles on youngsters faces!
What a pleasure it was to welcome Everton manager, Rafa Benitez, and his wife Montse to Lyons Robin Hood in Rhyl this week – talk about celebrity appearances! You might be wondering why we welcomed the King of Merseyside to Rhyl, and this blog post is set to tell you everything you need to know about this heartwarming venture.
Why was Rafa Benitez in Rhyl?
Both Rafa and Montse Benitez were at the official unveiling and ribbon-cutting of the caravan, which has been given the title of ‘OLLY’s Happy Place’, on Tuesday, November 2. Company directors, members of the Lyons Robin Hood team, and Jean Taylor, OLLY’s founder, attended the ceremony which took place on a sunny afternoon.
This caravan donation is the latest act of kindness shown by the high-profile due. A few years ago, The Montse Benitez Foundation was set up to help Merseyside-based causes, while the ‘Angel of Kindness’ herself has previously paid for children supported by OLLY to go on holidays to Disneyland and has donated many of her designer clothes and bags to the charity, raising thousands.
Rafa Benitez, who also managed Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, said that he and his wife have always been dedicated to helping those in need in a city with which they have both developed a huge love.
What type of work does Rafa Benitez do for charity?
He told the Rhyl Journal: “We were always thinking about helping local people. I think, on Merseyside, it’s important to know that, when you are doing something, it is going there.
“When I was Liverpool manager, we could see that Everton was involved with a lot of charities, so it’s more about the city, the people; not just if you are red or blue. That is, for us, the important thing.
“When you work with people far away, you don’t always see (the impact of) what you are doing. That’s the main thing for us – the local charities, the people on Merseyside – that when you do something, you know exactly what is going on, and the benefit from it.”
Why was Lyons Robin Hood chosen?
Jean Taylor, who also owns a holiday home on another Lyons park in North Wales, has had a longstanding relationship with the Lyons group. We were thrilled to hear that she would like to expand on her commitment to providing happy memories to deserving children after many years of taking them camping at Lyons St Mary’s Touring Park in Gronant.
She told the Rhyl Journal: “No child asks to live in poverty and deprivation. This caravan will take those kinds of children out of those communities where deprivation and poverty exists, and bring them to a happy place.
“Thanks to the amazing Montse and Rafa Benitez, they have allowed us to bring them to the countryside, to take them where they can go and have a swim, horse riding, or down to the beach just across the road. If it wasn’t for that kindness, and thinking of others less fortunate, this caravan wouldn’t exist.
“A caravan has been on the OLLY wish list for seven years. You can imagine what it was like when Montse said: ‘I want to buy a caravan.’ I said: ‘What type are you looking for?’ and she said: ‘Not for me, for you; for OLLY!’
“The only park I would ever have put a caravan on is Lyons Robin Hood. This is the best caravan park ever, and I say that from experience because they (the children) have been spending a day every year here. They’ve been made to feel so welcome; it’s very family-orientated, and that’s what I like about it. They always give back and they look after the community; it’s a fabulous caravan park.”
What does Montse, the Angel of Kindness, have to say?
Montse added: “She (Jean) has such a drive and such passion; she has improved the lives of children in Merseyside.
“The good thing is, we can meet the children and talk to them and actually know the circumstances they are under. We’ve always thought that every child should have good memories from their childhood. Sometimes, when they come to the Wirral, or to Crosby, for some of them, it’s the first time they’ve ever seen the sea, so we thought maybe this could be a good idea.
“There are a lot of people in the world who need help, but then you know that, a 10-minute drive from your home, maybe some children are cold during the night. Before trying to conquer the world, let’s start sorting out our home. That was the main idea; let’s (first) tackle things we can manage at home.”
How do we feel about this wonderful venture?
Beth Hughes, PR executive for Lyons Holiday Parks, added: “What an absolute privilege it was to welcome Jean Taylor from the OLLY charity and Rafa and Montse Benitez to our park.
“The work they do collectively is incredible, and speaking to them all highlights just how much this holiday home is needed. The OLLY charity is dedicated to offering respite to children who deserve it – and if we can help in any way with that, then the pleasure is all ours.
“We’re all about family and community at Lyons Holiday Parks, which is why we’ll be assisting Jean and the charity with many events, incentives and little everyday things throughout the year, such as football tournaments for the kids in the summer.
“We’re so thrilled that the children not only get to spend time at our Rhyl park, but they’ll also receive passes (which is part of the ownership package) to access all facilities at all Lyons parks in North Wales and Cumbria. This means those deserving children will be able to have fun in the amusement arcades, splash about in our many pools, watch our world-class entertainment shows and take part in our many events and activities.
“It’s such a wonderful cause and both Rafa and Montse were absolutely wonderful, as were all our team; especially the marketing team at Lyons Robin Hood, and the hospitality team led by Zayneb Farhoud at Lyons Nant Hall (Prestatyn), where Jean and the OLLY patrons enjoyed a special menu by renowned chef Tyler – who not only got his arm signed by Rafa, but finished his shift and headed straight to the tattoo parlour where he got his hero’s signature inked.”
If you have a child that you feel could benefit from any of OLLY’s services, you can contact Jean at: firstname.lastname@example.org.