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Poorly teenager gets holiday of a lifetime thanks to stepdad’s top boss

Shannon Horner, aged 15, got to meet her favourite children’s characters at Disneyland Paris with her mother and stepfather, Laura and Paul Addicot.

Part of Shannon’s heart did not develop properly and she suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition which affects how much blood is pumped around her body.  It means her oxygen levels can drop very low, and she has had to have three major operations.

Paul has been working for Briarwood – an agricultural roofing company which was based in Weston-super-Mare for more than 40 years but moved to a bigger hub in Highbridge three years ago – for three years. Paul said: “My employers know she has been in and out of hospital and they asked how they could help.

“Shannon’s always wanted to go on holiday abroad, but she’s not been able to since she was around five or six years old, and so they offered to pay for us to go away.” Briarwood’s directors Alan and Oliver Janes paid £3,500 for the family to take a four-day trip to Disneyland Paris, but at one point it was not certain it would go ahead.

Oliver told the Mercury: “We are a small team and we thought let’s do something nice for them, it’s a really hard thing for a young girl to have to deal with. “We just said whatever it costs, we’ll do it, but at one point we weren’t sure if it was going to happen as we didn’t know if the doctors would sign it off.”

Thankfully Shannon’s medical team said she was well enough to take the trip and she was able to fly to France, but it was not an easy journey.  Paul told the Mercury: “Shannon’s oxygen levels are between 74 and 78; a normal person’s sits at 99. “On the flight out her oxygen dropped to 54, but the flight attendants just stayed calm and knew exactly what to do and we still had the holiday of a lifetime.

“We had meals with the characters, and she got to sit down and have her photo taken with all of her favourite Disney characters.

“The trip absolutely wiped her out, but she loved the experience of being there, and it was just amazing to see.”