Family weekend 2009

This year’s Family Weekend took place from 22 to 24 May 2009 at the Royal Victoria Holiday Inn, Sheffield.

First of all I’d like to thank everyone who kindly donated raffle prizes:

Mary Jane Lomer for donating £500 for the children’s draw, Yorkshire Office Contracts, Game Redcar, HealthEd, Support Aid Solutions, West Midlands Safari Park, Friends for Dinner, Morrison’s Barnsley, ASCO Joucomatics, Salary Solutions, Sheffield Ski Village, Snow + Rock, Tesco’s and our families that brought prizes with them!

The weekend started early for Christine and I as, with our trusty helper, Neil Gawthorpe of NG Courier, we went to the hotel on the Thursday to deliver all our merchandise and prizes. Then on the Friday morning we went back to the hotel to set up for the day to come. Sue, Chris and I booked the families in on reception and looked after the merchandise stall. We ran some great workshops during the evening: cake decoration and customised clothing. It was lovely to welcome all of our families, old and new!

Saturday was planned like a military operation to fit everything into our busy schedule. After breakfast the coaches began to depart for Sheffield Ski Village taking the skiing contingent that Yvette and Harry were looking after with their team from GOSH and a helper from Actelion. They shuttled the rest of the group across to the Ski Village during the morning.

All the children had the opportunity to have a go at snow tubing or tobogganing and the bowling and large outside play area were available for everyone to enjoy throughout the day. The food served in the party area was pretty spectacular. The range of choices available ranged from pâté, cheeseboards and smoked salmon for the adults to chicken satay, chips and bowls of sweets for the children. The Ski Village caterers really had thought of everything!

After lunch we carried on enjoying the activities and lots of the parents joined in and were racing each other on the snow tubes and some had a go on the tobogganing. Most of the dads were rubbish and couldn’t stay on past the first corner (mentioning no names, Alistair!!)…

The parents and children reported that they had a really good time at the ski village and enjoyed the opportunity of trying something different. The staff were very accommodating – especially Vicky, who was very hands on and made sure the children had plenty of drinks available on the slopes. I can’t thank the Ski Village enough for making this weekend so special.

Saturday evening arrived and we all enjoyed a hot buffet followed by a prize giving and welcome given by Paul Pennington of UK Health Matters. There was a special prize draw for the children who have PH, and we’d like to send our congratulations to the winners of the Thomas V-Tech Smile, the Dora V-Tech Smile, the two Nintendo DSIs and the two Sony PSPs.

We were then entertained by the Stepz Dance Academy who’d kindly given up their Saturday evening to put on a show for us. All of the dancers stayed and danced with the children for most of the disco and then came back on Sunday morning to do a dance workshop. The girls from Stepz were brilliant and the children were very sad to see them go!

It was another successful weekend that left Chris and me buzzing with ideas for next year, so we look forward to seeing you all again then!

Caroline Drain
Administration Manager

Thanks to Yvette and Harrie from GOSH, Jill Smith from Air Products, Fran Georgel for help with the Ski Village, Janis Box and Kerry Dean for running the crèche and cake sessions, Sue Townsley, the Kents, the Woolleys, the Gawthorpes and the Hooper family for help with concentrators and selling raffle tickets. A special thank you to Chris from the office for all of her hard work!

Quotes from weekend and feedback forms:

The crèche was really good and everybody was nice and friendly.”

The dinner and disco were superb and the dance troupe was excellent.”

I cannot praise the PHA-UK enough for organizing and facilitating such a wonderful family weekend. There were lots of activities available and entertainment for the children was fantastic.”

We always look forward to our special weekends away together – just wish they wouldn’t go so quickly! It was great to try something new and different at the Ski Village.”

The Ski Village was excellent! Staff, and particularly flexible attitude, brilliant. Food was amazing – what a spread.”

Please keep doing them.”