Who we are

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"We have returned from our holiday in Cyprus relaxed, rejuvenated and very happy. We really switched off from our daily humdrum life and it was great to be reminded that there is a world out there to see. Words cannot describe what a positive influence the holiday had on both of us, it has really set us up for the year ahead."

Mary, 2019

Our History

CSDH is named after Robin Cavendish and Geoffrey Spencer, two great friends who together pioneered advances in the medical and social care of severely disabled people, especially those who were respirator dependent.

Robin Cavendish

Robin Cavendish was given two weeks to live when he contracted severe polio in Nairobi in 1958. He was left paralysed from the neck down and dependent on a respirator. He lived for 36 years, a full and extraordinary life with his wife Diana, portrayed in the film Breathe, produced by his son Jonathan. He was awarded MBE for services to disabled people.

Geoffrey Spencer

Geoffrey Spencer was an inspirational doctor who ran the famous Lane-Fox Unit at St Thomas's Hospital, London. He was a true pioneer, who advanced the quality of life of respirator dependent people with great passion. He was awarded OBE for services to disabled people.

In 1970 Robin and Geoffrey co-founded Refresh, a charity that built a unique holiday home for the severely disabled, Netley Waterside House, on Southampton Water. The eventual sale of the site, added to money raised in Robin’s memory after his death in 1994 (the Robin Cavendish Memorial Fund), combined to create the funds in CSDH which now finance our annual holiday grants.

Board of trustees

CS Disabled Holidays is delighted that Diana Cavendish remains our patron.

Our Trustees

  • Jonathan Cavendish (Chairman)
  • Henry Hood (Secretary)
  • Mark Ashburton (Treasurer)
  • Lesley Cavendish
  • Willow Cavendish
  • Charlotte Duthie
  • Mark Fane
  • Lucinda Fox
  • Joanna Lees (Charity Administrator)

"I am so grateful to the trustees of CS Disabled Holidays because they are so effective and understand how hard it is for disabled people to travel or go on holiday. Without them, we would never have seen, or been able to share, our wonderful experiences as normal people do about the wonderful world."

— David, 2022