A group of eight children with serious illnesses and disabilities have returned from a trip of a lifetime thanks to a North Devon charity.

The Childrens Holiday Foundation took the eight children on a two-week trip to Florida, which included swimming with dolphins and theme park visits.

Children are accompanied by voluntary adult helpers for the holiday as they visit Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Sea World, Universal Studios and many more.

They are also provided with a DVD and photo book of the holiday to share with their families.

The 2019 trip marked two milestones for the charity, as it has now taken 200 children to the United States across 25 holidays since 1993.

Childrens Holiday Foundation founder Dr Robin Buckland said he thought the milestone trip was one the children would never forget.

"Whether it was swimming with the dolphins at Discovery Cove, in the hotel pool, being thrown around on a high speed roller coaster, shopping or eating out, I saw nothing but happy smiling faces," he said.

Nine-year-old Alisha kisses a dolphin at Discovery Cove.Nine-year-old Alisha kisses a dolphin at Discovery Cove.

"They have all been through difficult times with their illness or disability and in a small way we help them to build their confidence to cope with whatever life throws at them in the future.

"I would like to thank my voluntary helpers whose hard work, commitment and care makes these holidays such fun for the children. I would also like to thank everyone who has supported us in such a generous way, because without them these holidays could not happen."

He added: "Both my voluntary helpers and I have been privileged to experience these wonderful holidays with so many very special and courageous children."

The next holiday is planned for April 2020.

One of the children to travel to Florida was nine-year-old Alisha Tatton.

Alisha's mum, Zoe White, said: "She had a wonderful holiday and has not stopped talking about it since she came home.

"She does not let anything get her down. Being away from her family for two weeks has helped her grow up and she is now no longer so nervous of doing other activities away from us."