Feeding otters and swans guaranteed a fun time was had by all at the Meningitis Trust’s Lancashire Family Day at Martin Mere Wetland Centre, near Ormskirk yesterday (Sunday, 3 March).

The sleek and slinky, but friendly, otters were the stars of the show for the ten families who attended the day. But the children, with a range of after-effects from meningitis, including limb loss, hearing loss and acquired brain injury, also joined in with craft activities and a tour of the centre.

Chris Hughes, the Trust’s Community Support Officer for the North West and South Cumbria, who organised the day, said: “Family Days are wonderful opportunities for children who have had meningitis to join the Trust, alongside their brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents, for a fun day of activities and creative workshops.

“But they also bring families from the area together to share experiences. We know that the impact of meningitis reaches much further than just the individual concerned – it can have a huge effect on family members and friends. That’s why bringing these families together is so important.”

Those attending the day saw the Centre’s beaver lodge, otter enclosure and even had a go at den building. They also enjoyed close-up encounters, hand feeding rare and endangered water-birds as they swam and wandered in wetlands custom-designed to mimic their natural homes.

Victoria Fellowes, Marketing Officer at Martin Mere Wetland Centre, said: “Martin Mere is a truly special place where wilderness and family-friendliness come together. It was lovely to watch these families learning more about the plants, birds and animals that make up this haven and enjoying getting up close and feeding some of them – an experience they wouldn’t normally be able to get and one they’re unlikely to forget in a hurry.”