Boy with rare muscle disease gets 'dream' holiday in the sun

Boy with rare muscle disease gets 'dream' holiday in the sunStock photo: Rex

An eight-year-old boy with a rare muscle condition has had his greatest wish - to go on a hot holiday with a swimming pool - granted.

John Dickson dreamed of a holiday abroad, and the Starlight Children's Foundation made them come true by sending him and his family to an all-inclusive beach resort in Sicily.

John was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2004, a condition that causes severe muscle wastage and means he is incapable of sustained bouts of unsupported exercise, according to the Cotswold Journal.

He has to take tablet medication and undergo regular physiotherapy, making frequent trips to the hospital.

He uses a manual wheelchair, and often finds it hard to keep up with his friends.

John's mum Angela said the holiday pool was the highlight for John, who spent many hours having fun with his sister on their inflatable crocodile.

She told the Cotswold Journal : "We hoped Starlight could help put the smile back on his face and the sparkle back in his eyes.

"It was just perfect."

Visit to refer a child for a wish, or to make a donation.

See a host of Italian holiday gems here:

Sawday's new Italian gems for 2012
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Boy with rare muscle disease gets 'dream' holiday in the sun

This rose-smothered flour mill on the banks of the Meolo river has been tastefully converted, with exposed mill machinery and restored wooden decor. Stroll through the long riverside garden, eat at one of the restaurant's four dining alcoves, drift off to the creak of the mill wheel, or borrow bikes for the day. From £98 (€120) per night.

This five-star boutique hotel is just steps away from many of the city's finest attractions, including Largo Argentina's ruined temples and the Pantheon. Its "refined and restful" interior boasts marble stairs, chandeliers, antiquated bedrooms and modern bathrooms. In the evening, you can relax with a drink on the terrace overlooking Rome's rooftops. Relais Teatro Argentina costs £117 (€143) per night.

With 18th-century frescoed ceilings and an antiquated, labyrinth interior, this historic borgo palazzo offers five terraces, two living rooms, 12 "lavish" bedrooms, marble bathrooms, a library with a bar and four kitchens (one of which has a Tuscan fireplace and pizza oven). It also has a swimming pool, lovely views to Monticatini, and gardens filled with wisteria, fountains, fruits and palm trees. Oh, and there are gourmet wine-tasting tours, too. From £3,260 (€4000) per week. Sleeps 28.

Situated in the historic heart of Modica, Anime a Sud is a small 19th century townhouse remodelled by artist and eco engineer Luca. The townhouse has an open-plan living room, a family room, and a big dining terrace with lemon trees. Wooden shutters, stylish candle lanterns and zero-impact energy all make for a highly eco-friendly abode. Beaches are located 20 minutes away. From £742 (€910) per week. Sleeps 5.

Set in a 16th-century palazzo down one of the few quiet streets of Palermo, Le Terrazze sports five plant-filled terraces with "fine rooftop views." The apartment contains "lofty sunlit rooms bedecked in antiques ceramics and paintings", the bedrooms are grand and traditional, and you can take your pick from several local restaurants nearby. From £89.70 (€110) per night.

An ancient flat-topped Sicilian-like building with vaulted brick ceilings, Roman columns and stone arches, Delser Manor has been described as an archaeologist's dream. The hotel offers luxurious bedrooms, oak floors and rainforest showers. Verona is just ten minutes away too, meaning you can pop down to see Juliet's balcony and opera in a Roman arena. From £90 (€110) per night.

Built in 1850 and modernised in 2003, this plain granite 'stazzu gallurese' can be found at the end of a long winding road. With its reed-woven ceiling, a corner fireplace and little windows, Stazzo Chivoni is a place with no artifice. It has a bright sitting room, an outdoor hammock and a vegetable garden which Sawday describes as being "in harmony with the landscape". From £50 (€60) per night.

Described by Sawday's as "a delight for the senses and with spell-binding views", Podere Cardaneto is split into three sections: a house for B&Bers, barn apartments for self caterers and a 14th-century look-out tower. Filled with "elegant and inviting décor", the podere is home to mismatched sofas, idiosyncratic antiques and "big beautiful bedrooms". Foodwise you can expect homemade cakes, jams in season and "simple delicious dinners". From £98 (€120) per night / £490 (€600) per week.

This old farm has been restored to what is now a rustic destination with traditional interiors, vine-clad terraces and a super pool. The Ramuse menu has been described as "tantalising", and everything served is produced on the farm or locally. Situated nearby are the Sibillini mountains and the Adriatic coast. From £73.39 (€90) per night / £489.28 (€600) per week based on two sharing.

Situated in the hills of the Mugello valley, Le Due Volpi is just twenty miles from Florence. A big house strewn with ivy, the place offers "spaciousness and light and a charming Tuscan interior". The hosts cook from their Aga, and the bedrooms offer soft lighting and wood-burners. Vicchio is only a ten-minute drive away and riding stables are just down the road. From £98 (€120) per night. Visit


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