Families turn out in droves for Marvels and Meltdowns fun day in Gosport

IT was all fun and games at Gosport's Walpole Park on Saturday as charity Marvels and Meltdowns held their biggest ever event in aid of a very special cause.

Saturday, 5th August 2017, 3:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:24 am

A carousel, a huge bouncy slide and a vast line of colourful stalls were spread throughout the busy field.

But the biggest additions to the event were the smiles on the faces of charity co-founders Tricia Lyons and Shandrika Day.

The duo, dubbed by friends as the female Ant and Dec, have been rigorously planning for five months to make the day a huge success.

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Tricia said: ‘Shandrika and I met around 12 years ago as, at the time, we were both navy wives.

‘My son was diagnosed with ADHD and a form of autism when he was nine and Shandrika was so supportive. We would regularly meet at Costa to talk things out.’

Shandrika was heavily involved in the Haven Children’s Centre and spoke to her manager when she realised that there didn’t seem to be anything around to support parents of children with ADHD or autism disorders.

Shandrika said: ‘The centre manager suggested I set something up and the seed was planted. Tricia and I set up Marvels and Meltdowns two and a half years ago and we’ve been a registered charity for two years.’

The pair described the response they received from parents and the general public as overwhelming.

Tricia said: ‘We now host a meeting every week at St Vincent College campus. We get together for a chat and a cup of tea and always have a great turnaround and we’ve made some real friends.’

The charity offers public stay n play sessions for under 5’s, and after-school homework clubs, parent/carer support group meetings and a Marvels Saturday Club.

They support families across Hampshire with children affected by ADHD, Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD).

One group attendee found the team so helpful she became a volunteer for the cause.

Kim Ingram has a son called Alfie who has been diagnosed with autism and ADHD.

She said: ‘I reached out to Marvels when I heard about them through a friend. I wanted to know if what we were going through as a family was normal but wasn’t confident to speak out.

‘At my first meeting it was so relaxed and everyone made me feel so welcome, I cried my eyes out! If you’re in a similar position I urge you to get in touch because it will really help.’

On Saturday families were out in their droves to enjoy the rides, guess the teddy and learn more about the cause.

Shandrika said: ’We are raising money but it’s more about raising awareness for us.

‘If we can let people know that we’re here for them if they need us then we’ve achieved what we wanted to.’