The charity’s manager Nicky Kandola joined the 44 children on their adventure on a free holiday with Leicester Children’s Holidays.
The hustle and bustle involved in ‘waving off’ the excited children outside our offices in Holy Bones has been the same for the last 121 years. The anxious faces on the mum’s and dad’s faces along with the excitement and apprehension from the children has not changed from the early days of the charity.
Back then, it was Mablethorpe, this time it was the Hilltop Activity Centre on the Norfolk coast. So once the orderly queue of parents had disappeared, the form-filling was finished with and the bags were all on the bus, we were off.
Mayors, parents and charity volunteers and trustees waved us off and at last we were on our way. There was a lot of chatter on the coach. Some of the children had bought books, puzzles and snacks to while away the time and some of them slept after their early start. There was mass singing and my Rich Tea biscuits were passed around with many cries of “Are we there yet?” along the way.
“My son just did not want to come home”
After three hours we had arrived. We were in Seaview House to the north of the Hilltop site so the children had a chance to take a look at the big open site of the activity centre as the coach wound its way round to our base. The swimming pool was the main attraction.
Despite the pouring rain we got the bags off the coach and the Hilltop staff were there to show the children to their rooms. The dormitories slept four, six or eight. Then it was lunch and setting out some of the rules of the dining room. All the children were excited and wondering what they were going to be doing. And don’t forget, many of the children had not been away on a holiday at all, never mind one like this.
We took seven people with us, all experienced at dealing with children. They were Simon Toole, Sam Wood, Skye Stephens, Louise Sixman, Katylin Whithead, Indigo Steady and Louise Bailey and were integral to the success of the trip. They were there to help with pastoral care and deal with any problems. The children were split into four groups of 11 with two adults assigned to each group.
“My daughter absolutely loved the activities”
Then on that first afternoon we were straight into a series of fun team-building activities. If there was any ice left which needed to be broken, it was well and truly broken then.
Next time I will tell you about the fun the children had when they saw the sea for the first time in their lives.
General manager, Leicester Children’s Holidays