A SEVERELY disabled Carlisle youngster is about to embark on his dream holiday thanks to a local charity.

Five-year-old Ryan Wilkinson cannot walk or talk and has spent the past 18 months in and out of hospital.

At one point his family feared the worst after he ended up in intensive care at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

On top of that they have been fighting to get their home in Cresswell Avenue, Harraby, adapted for Ryan, who needs 24-hour care and is now too heavy to be carried upstairs.

Ryan and mum Debbie are currently staying with family in Corby Hill while they wait for building work to finish.

It has been a stressful time, but this spring Ryan, Debbie and dad David will finally get the break they need thanks to the Carlisle-based Geoff Brown Charitable Trust.

Founder Geoff Brown, a local businessman, had arranged for the holiday last year but it had to be called off when Ryan took ill.

Now they are finally getting ready to head off to the Calvert Trust’s Kielder Forest Park, in Northumberland, in May.

Staying in a specially-adapted log cabin, Ryan will be able to take part in sports and activities his family never dreamed of.

Debbie said: “He’s been in hospital a lot. The last time was two weeks ago when he had a viral bug so we are hoping he can stay well this time. We are determined he will get there.

“The place we are going to is great. There are walks we can take him on, there’s a sensory room and a hydro pool which he’ll really love. There are even off-road buggies and things like canoeing. It’s all designed for disabilities so he can take part. It will be fantastic for him.”

Geoff said: “The aim is to just give them that quality time together. Ryan was going to go last year but was rushed into hospital. They’ve had a tough time. They all deserve this.”

Having started the charitable trust in 1983, Geoff has helped more than 500 good causes since then.

“For me it’s a hobby. Some people are into football, rugby, golf... this is my interest,” he added.