A COUPLE who could not have children and made a family by adopting two Down's Syndrome children are backing the Gazette's Give Them a Break campaign.

After finding out they would not be able to have children of their own, Mike and Sue Rose, from Cartmel, adopted their now 36-year-old son, Stephen, when he was 21 months old in 1984 . Three years later they adopted their daughter, Kirsty, when she was eight-months-old.

Sadly, Kirsty died when she was 26-years-old from heart failure.

"Kirsty was bright as a button," said Mike "She was incredibly intelligent and very cheeky, she could talk your head off!

"Now it's just the three of us and we simply do everything together. We have never really spent a day apart from each other."

The Give Them a Break appeal aims to raise £20,000 to give people who voluntarily care for a loved-one, relative or friend much-needed respite.

This could be a one-night dinner, a bed and breakfast stay at a Lake District hotel or a day's activity, such as a spa break, an adventure trip or a day's walking with a fell guide.

The trio act as carers for each other as Sue, aged 64, has been suffering from Psoriatic arthritis since she was 16. This is a long-term condition that gets progressively worse as time goes on. She now has severe mobility issues as does Stephen who cannot walk for very long. Both use a wheelchair and a mobility scooter to get around.

"We can't go to many places as we have a lot of baggage to take with us and it can just get quite stressful," said Sue.

The campaign also seeks to raise awareness of the work of the charity, which provides practical and emotional support and advice to around 1,250 un-paid carers across the area.

"We can't thank them enough for the help they have given us," said Mike, "We've just had to get on with things in the past and now they are there it's good to know we have support when we need it."

The Give Them a Break appeal could not have come at a better time for the family.

"Because of our situation, we are financially tied," said Mike "To be able to go out for a meal together, we would be over the moon!"

Mike and Sue also wanted to add their thanks to those who have donated to the campaign so far.

"We hope this appeal can also help other families and carers who may be in a much worse situation than what we are in," said Sue. "Being a carer is hard work but it's worth it in the end."

To donate to the campaign, complete the coupon and return it to Mike Addison, Give Them a Break, The Westmorland Gazette, 1 Wainwright's Yard, Kendal, LA94DP. Make cheques payable to 'Give Them a Break.' You can also visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/GiveThemABreak

- South Lakeland Carers will be celebrating its 26th anniversary by putting on a gala dinner on Friday November 23 at Castle Green Hotel, Kendal. There will be a three course meal followed by an auction with some spectacular prizes and some dancing. There are few tickets left and proceeds will be going to the general funds for the charity. To acquire about tickets contact the charity, admin@slcarers.org.uk