Family ‘overwhelmed by kindness’ as car replaced

George family from top: Philip Sarah, Ellie and Tom.
George family from top: Philip Sarah, Ellie and Tom.
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A FAMILY with a child suffering from cancer were given a new car after a Polegate charity man and his brother helped out after they broke down on holiday.

Sarah George and her husband Philip, daughter Ellie, 12, and Tom, aged nine, set off from their home in Haywards Heath for a holiday in St Ives, Cornwall, in July.

The holiday was important for the family since Tom has been undergoing treatment for leukaemia.

Mrs George said: “He had been ill in hospital in Brightthe previous week and we had only just got the go-ahead from the doctors to go on holiday and not have any hospital treatment while we were away.”

But after the excited family set off, their car had a problem with the gearbox when they reached Dorchester in Dorset. They were directed to ‘Downton Gifford’ garage and the owner Nick Downton immediately put the car on a ramp to look.

What the family did not know is that Nick Downton is the brother of Chris Downton, chairman of The Children With Cancer Fund (CWCF) charity in Polegate.

Mrs George said: “Nick confirmed our worst fears and said that he would not be able to fix it that day.”

Nick helped the family get a hired car and they set off for St Ives. Philip George mentioned to the receptionist, as they were leaving, that his son suffered from leukaemia.

Later that evening, Nick phoned to say the gearbox replacement would be expensive. But Nick had phoned his brother Chris in Polegate - who then contacted another Sussex children’s cancer charity, Remember Spencer – who agreed to pay for the car repairs. Mrs George said: “We could not believe this kindness.”

When the Georges returned to the garage on July 31 they were told by Nick that the car needed other repairs worth more than the car’s value. The family were wondering how to get home when ‘Nick said something we could hardly believe’, said Mrs George.

She said: “The wonderful people at Remember Spencer had agreed to buy us a replacement car.”

Mr Downton had already found a car from a local car sales site and had it ready in his garage for the family.

Mrs George said: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown to us by Nick and Chris Downton, and the team at CWCF.”