Christmas spirit came to the fore in Stonehaven last week, when the Mearns Leader, local people and businesses stepped up to help a weary traveller in need.
Mark Newton is eight months into a challenge to travel around Britain on a mobility scooter.
His ex-military background prompted him to take on the task to raise money for several charities close to his heart. However, on arriving at Stonehaven’s Queen Elizabeth Carvan Park, Mark was told that his vehicle - which tows a ‘teardrop’ caravan/trailer - was not up to the standard of the Caravan Club, who run the site. He was turned away on the spot.
But Stonehaven soon proved that there was room at the inn after all, as Mark was quickly taken in at Molly’s Cafebar and offered refreshments and the chance to charge up his scooter for nothing.
He then contacted the Leader, and we alerted the town to his plight.
We were inundated with offers of help for Mark, who travels with his two cats, Missy and Smudge.
After hearing about Mark’s dilemma from us, the Royal Hotel quickly stepped in to offer him a room for the night.
The Leader contacted staff at the caravan site, who said they stood by the decision to turn him away.
However, a spokesperson for the Caravan Club said this week: “The club regularly lends its support to charity, and does everything it can to meet the many requests of its members, as well as non-members, to help support their charity endeavours.
‘‘In regards to staying on one of the club’s 200 UK sites, we anticipate that anyone wishing for support will first contact us before arriving on site, so that the relevant authorisations can be made.
“Sadly, Mr Newton did not contact us in advance, as we would have worked with him to find a solution and been able to let the site know to expect him.
“The club is now working with Mr Newton regarding the rest of his tour and we wish him well with his endeavours on behalf of such a very worthy cause.”
More about Mark’s challenge and progress on Twitter (@Aroundbritian) or find him on Facebook).