A FAMILY has been welcomed with open arms to one of West Dorset's biggest events after they spoke out about 'nasty comments' made to a disabled teenager.

Guitars on the Beach has invited the family to join them as guests at this summer's event on Saturday, June 16.

It comes after an article in last week's Bridport and Lyme Regis News when the girl's mum made a plea for people to be more considerate.

The family's daughter, aged 19, said the offer from Guitars on the Beach (GOTB), kind emails from Cllr Cheryl Reynolds, chairman of Lyme's tourism committee, and the positive comments in the aftermath of the article have inspired her to raise awareness of those with invisible disabilities.

Geoff Baker, of GOTB, said he was 'horrified' to hear what the family have had to endure 'from what must be a tiny and small-minded minority'.

Mr Baker added: "We are not that sort of town that takes an ignorant view of people who are disabled. In fact, Lyme is doing its utmost to become more disabled-friendly, with the beach wheelchairs launched last year being the first of many schemes, including more accessible toilets and fewer steps.

"No one volunteers to be disabled, it's not something people aspire to and it is hard enough as it is without small-minded fools making people feel worse about themselves. It's not fair, it's not kind and it's not Lyme Regis."

Cllr Reynolds echoed Mr Baker's comments.

"Guitars on the Beach is one of the best of Lyme's events and as this young lady is 19, it might be something she will really enjoy. Anything we can do to make this family's day special, we will."

The Bridport & Lyme Regis News put Mr Baker and Cllr Reynolds in touch with the family, who have asked to remain anonymous.

They said they were 'very touched by such a nice gesture which was totally unexpected.'

The mum added: "Our daughter was really surprised and is looking forward to it.

She came to a decision that she actually wants to set in motion more awareness of children and young adults with her condition as it is (sometimes depending on degree ) an invisible disability that not only causes so much physical pain but very commonly emotional distress or depression.

"We sense that her newly found eagerness to do this has come from both the positive comments to the article and this kind gesture."