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Monday, 25 September 2017

Getting Away From It All

by Michael Ford last modified 25 Sep, 2017 03:42 PM

A report on the ‘Away From It All’ Holiday, known as the AFIA Project, at the Sidholme Hotel, Sidmouth.

Having returned from a wonderful week working as one of 14 ‘yellow top’ volunteers alongside our 66 guests (that’s 22 adults and 44 children), I thought you would like to see some photos of just what we got up to during the week as well as read about some of our activities.

MU 'Yellow Top' Volunteers [Sep 2017]

The highlights of the week included the visit to the Donkey Sanctuary, the Sidholme Snail Race, the launching of Sidholme Rockets (NASA has nothing on this) and of course, the Sidholme Talent Show. When we visited the Sanctuary, the donkeys were delighted to see us and made sure that they all came out to say ‘Hello’.

Our mornings were spent doing a variety of craft activities. The theme for the week was ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ and the children were divided into two teams – Puffins and Penguins – for some of the more competitive games! Morning activities included pom-pom making, spray painting, designing pirate masks and ships, making rockets, creating wonderful fish shapes and decorating the pebbles we had collected on the beach.

There was never a dull moment. If you didn’t want to swim in the sea, there was always that gorgeous, indoor heated swimming pool to use. As the week progressed, the sun came out and stayed there. On the beach, there was fierce competition for the best sand castle. Indoors, the snails were a little slow but clearly we had some potential candidates for a marathon amongst them.

Prof Fumble and Audience Participation [Sep 2017]

When we weren’t playing ‘Mission Impossible’ party games in the evening, we were entertained by Professor Fumble – what a scream! It was great to see some really budding entertainers amongst the children as Professor Fumble encouraged audience participation.

Sidholme Talent Show [Sep 2017]

The week ended on a high note – not only did the Red Arrows come roaring over the hotel, en route to their display over the Bay, but everyone took part in a fantastic Talent Show. Yes, and Teletubbies and Spiderman came too! Come Saturday morning, we were all truly Puffined and Penguined Out!!

It was another wonderful week and our sincere thanks go to Ian and Wilma Bromilow, our Team leaders, and to all the volunteers who gave up their time to come and support the families. Having welcomed some extremely anxious, tired and nervous families on the first Saturday, we said tearful farewells to relaxed, calm and happy families at the end of the week.

Here is a ‘thank you’ from one of them:

“For actually getting me to let my guard down and trust others, with my children; for enabling me to forget about work for a few days, and giving me the time and energy to talk and laugh and to make new friends, I say “thank you”. I am so grateful that I was able to come to Sidmouth.

“For the accommodation and for all the meals provided, for the minibuses to the beach and the entertainment for the children. All of these things enabled me to spend time with my children and to treat them to days out and to spoil them with some little gifts that I could never have afforded were it not for the assistance I was given with this holiday.”

If this isn’t taking our MU theme of ‘Faith in Action’ for 2017 seriously, I don’t know what is! Thank you to all our members and supporters who gave so generously to support this holiday. The Teddies were amazing and soon found little friends to care for them. All the families were given ‘A Cross in Your Pocket’ and were truly touched by the gift. It is an incredibly important and much-needed holiday for all of those families and it just wouldn’t happen without your help and support. THANK YOU!

Rosie Stiven


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