IT doesn’t get much more English than traditional fish and chips.
So the tartare sauce, vinegar and red and white flags will be aplenty tomorrow as three fish and chip shops pull out all the stops to celebrate St George’s Day and raise some money for a charity inspired by a little boy.
Whistler’s Fish and Chips, which has shops in Hayling, Fareham and Westbourne, is raising money for Sam’s Haven, a charity that provides a much-needed holiday for local families who have children with terminal or life-threatening illness.
The good cause was set up by Louise and Paul Merrick, from Denmead, who have raised £12,000 since September last year through events and donations to buy a three-bedroom holiday home in Chichester.
Their son Sam Merrick was born premature and had to undergo a bone marrow transplant from his older brother Kiran in 2012.
He has spent much of his young life in hospital and the condition that affects his immune system is still not fully understood but the five-year-old was all smiles as he visited the fish and chip shop in Station Road, Hayling Island.
Paul, 38, a dad of four, said: ‘It’s absolutely brilliant the amount of support we are getting from shops and schools.
‘Even someone from Cyprus has got involved and donated arts and crafts stuff so the kids have something to do when they are in hospital.
‘We did not realise how much it was going to take off.
‘The support we have had from Haven Holiday Park in Chichester has been phenomenal.
‘We just had our first family in this weekend and the report was they had a very good time. We have four other families booked in.’
Sam’s aunt Liz Procter, 35, from Hayling, said the family really appreciated Whistler’s support.
Manageress Emma Dorey, 20, said: ‘The idea came about two years ago so we could give back to the community.
‘Everyone comes together on the day and celebrates it.
‘People celebrate St Patrick’s Day more but as the years have gone on more people are celebrating St George’s.
‘I am very proud of being English – look at our history, our economy. We are the best!
‘I am looking forward to it.’