Well, I can’t believe another family weekend has come and gone! We always love planning this weekend and looking back to last year when we booked the event and how quickly it has come around again. However, Christine and I are already thinking about next year’s event!!
Before sharing my thoughts about the weekend, I’d like to thank Jill Smith for providing oxygen and concentrators for our event, even though it was out of the Air Products area and a logistical nightmare for them. Jill also provided 50 teddies for the children’s goody bags. I’d also like to thank Yvette Flynn and Harriet Foster, Specialist PH Nurses from GOSH, and Professor Sheila Haworth who kindly caught up with families on the Saturday. Thanks too to Janis Box and Kerry Dean, who always help with the activies, Ian purplewood from RMS who provided the giant PHA logo teddies (in bling), Pauline Ginn for collecting raffle prizes, the Woolley family, Judith, Kevin and Tom and, of course, Christine in the office, who has to put up with my many demands before and during the event!
Oops – I should also say a big thank you to our lovely Trustees for attending and helping out (or being bossed around by the office staff): Sue Townsley, Sam Khan (who provided the chocolate and popcorn from Kinnerton), Kay Yeowart, Tom Siddons and especially Iain Armstrong, who did a great job interviewing the children during the fancy dress parade and running the proceedings for us on the Saturday night.
I always feel very emotional about the family weekend, as does everyone at the charity who is involved with it. In fact, for different reasons I do feel that it’s as important an event as our conference. The children who attend are truly inspirational and it’s a privilege to be part of the Association just to be in their company and part of their special weekend.
We always try to give the children and young adults a new experience and I do think Center Parcs ticked all the right boxes. The staff were very helpful and accommodating – especially Naomi, who works in the Venue. The varied activities ranged from Pony Rides and Magical Memories for the younger children to Tree Trekking, Waterollerz and Birds of Prey for the older ones. The weather was slightly unkind to us on the Saturday, when we had lots of showers, but on the whole it didn’t stop many of the children from taking part in their pre-booked activity sessions. Lots of the families very sensibly brought or hired bikes, otherwise the walking would have been too much. Christine and Steve, our photographer, are still not speaking to me for making them run around the park taking photos. I did join them for a couple of hours before returning to the Venue to get help dress tables for our buffet, disco and fancy dress parade.
Sunday was more of a chill-out day with families dipping in and out of the Venue and making the most of the facilities – the tropical swimming paradise being a firm favourite. The barbecue was lovely and we managed to do a photo shoot with the children for charity, which will be on sale soon.
Quotes from the weekend:
“We have had a wonderful time, lovely accommodation, good people, great activities, fantastic food. We are very pleased that we were invited to come along and be part of such a great weekend.”
“We have all had a brilliant weekend away, everyone was so friendly and helpful. It was nice to meet up with other mums and dads and children. Had a fab time and look forward to the next one.”
“Holding the weekend at Center Parcs was very good as it caters for good and bad weather. Having a central point for meeting and playing was good. We all had a brilliant weekend and have now come home for a rest!”
“You can do as much or as little as you like, the choice is yours, nice and laid back. Many thanks – couldn’t afford a break this year ourselves!”
“It has been a very enjoyable fun weekend, we feel very privileged to have been invited, thank you again.”
Many thanks to all of our supporters: we managed to raise £242 on our tombola and a further £987.32 on merchandise and from generous donations over the course of the weekend. A special thank you to Ben Head at the Disney distribution centre in Lutterworth, for donating many of the wonderful prizes scattered around our tombola table. The Summer Raffle Draw raised £2,020 and the winning ticket numbers are 0616 (£500), 1270 (£50), 3906 (£50) and 2646 (£50); the cheques have gone out in the post.