Scammed family’s trip saved after holiday con

The Cressey family. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
The Cressey family. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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THE family of a premature baby who were duped out of a holiday in an online scam are packing their suitcases after a big-hearted donor stepped in.

We revealed earlier this month that Emily Cressey’s mother, Claire, had been conned out of £350 while booking a caravan break.

The family had been looking forward to their first trip away as Emily, who was one of Scotland’s smallest babies when she was born three months early, was finally strong enough to travel away from home.

But they were left gutted after a cruel con wrecked their plans.

But now 18-month-old Emily and her three big sisters are finally set to enjoy a holiday thanks to a generous Evening News reader.

The mystery man, who describes himself only as an “anonymous Christian donor”, said he felt compelled to get in touch after reading about the scam.

He has given Ms Cressey £350 for an alternative family trip – and the mother-of-four said she was “lost for words”.

She now hopes to go to Bamburgh, Northumberland, with her children and their father, Alan Coultas, next month, which will coincide with daughter Millie’s birthday.

An emotional Ms Cressey, 35, said: “I absolutely don’t know what to say. I’m just flabbergasted that anybody could be that kind and care to take enough time to do something like that totally out of the blue.

“It’s just amazing on so many levels.

“I just want to say the biggest thank you to this man that doesn’t know us but has a heart. It takes somebody really special to step forward and do this for somebody they don’t even know.

“I’m so touched that there is some good, for all the bad that we have had. He said he thought that what had happened was so sad, and he wants to make a difference to our family. The girls will be so excited when it’s all booked. It’s going to make such a difference to our family.”

The donor told the News: “I thought I’d help the family, but I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.”

He added that he was touched by the story due to everything the family had already been through.

Little Emily still fits in clothes for babies aged from three to six months. She was born three months premature in February last year, weighing just 1lb 3oz, and spent four months in the neonatal unit at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Although she is still very small and her organs are under-developed, she has gradually become stronger and has reached several milestones.

She is now able to stand if she is holding on to the sofa, and doctors are pleased with her progress.

However, her journey has been an emotional time for all the family, including her big sisters, Caitlin, ten, Millie, five, and Brooke, two.

Keen to give the girls a break after a tough 18 months, Ms Cressey responded to an advert on a Facebook forum about a last-minute booking for a caravan at the Coral Beach holiday park in Skegness.

But after she transferred £350 into the owner’s bank account she realised she had been conned.

Police are investigating and Ms Cressey, from Coldstream, is concerned that it is part of a wider online scam.

The holiday had been advertised on the “caravans to rent in Skegness and the surrounding area” Facebook page, but there is no suggestion that the forum or the caravan park has been involved in any criminal wrongdoing.

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com