Airport City Manchester & Butlin’s gives special group of UK visitors a right Royal welcome

Airport City Manchester and Butlin’s helped a group of special visitors get swept up in Royal Wedding fever at a series of events surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day.

More than 40 people from Williams Syndrome associations across Europe flew into Manchester Airport for their annual European Camp. This took place alongside the national convention of the UK Williams Syndrome Foundation, at Butlin’s in Skegness, and coincided with the Royal Wedding.

The group, which included those with Williams Syndrome and their carers, experienced a truly British welcome on the eve of the big day attending Airport City Manchester’s #FarFlungFriday wedding-themed celebrations at its Platform event space at Manchester Airport (18 May).

Greeted by a fanfare welcome, fit for a Royal couple, Airport City provided the group with the opportunity to take part in a range of fun wedding and airport-themed activities.

Most notably, Airport City Manchester built a large cardboard airplane tail fin for the group to decorate, using a range of materials, themed on the Royal Wedding. Airport City Manchester has commissioned a ceramicist to create a replica that will be sent to Buckingham Palace as a gift from the Federation of European Williams Syndrome Associations to the Royal couple.

Whilst at the airport, members of the group had the chance to try on cabin crew outfits and also operate some specially-opened check-in desks where they could pretend to scan in the Royal couple’s luggage as if they were heading off on honeymoon from Manchester Airport.

The group continued their celebrations at Butlin’s in Skegness after entertainment staff at the holiday resort welcomed the group’s coach with a flourish of red, white and blue flags and pageantry.

Members of the group settled in to watch the Royal Wedding on a big screen whilst others enjoyed a traditional Fish & Chips lunch on the seafront.

They also helped Prince Harry and his bride start their honeymoon celebrations on the Sunday morning with fun on Butlins’ rides, including the carousel and go-karts.

The Royal Wedding and the UK charity’s Convention also coincided with Williams Syndrome Awareness Month. Affecting around one in 18,000 people in the UK, Williams Syndrome is a rare congenital disorder that causes distinctive facial characteristics and a wide range of learning difficulties.

The activities at Airport City Manchester and Butlin’s were designed to appeal to those affected by the syndrome, who tend to be extremely sociable, but can experience physical and mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

Jon Lovell, President of the Federation of European Williams Syndrome Associations, said: “I have to thank Airport City Manchester and Butlin’s for making sure our party had a weekend to remember! They’ve been absolutely brilliant. From the moment we arrived at Manchester Airport and all through our weekend at Butlin’s in Skegness, we have been made extremely welcome and we all feel like we have been part of the Royal Wedding – congratulations Harry and Meghan!”

John McHugh, Head of Strategic and Commercial Marketing at Airport City Manchester said: “There is a real sense of excitement about the Royal Wedding and we were delighted the group from the Federation of European Williams Syndrome Associations had the chance to join us at our Platform Airport City event and get swept up in the activities, in particular the ceramic gift created for the Royal couple.”

Chris Baron, Resort Director at Butlin’s Skegness, said: “We were delighted to be able to play our part in making what was a very significant weekend even more special. We hope the group from the UK Williams Syndrome Foundation had a break to remember.”


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