HCPT Group 75

Our little website, come alive with 75!

Final post of the week

Well it's the end of our fantastic week! Our last full day in Lourdes is drawing to a close and it was a lovely day to close on!

Breakfast out this morning meant a little lie-in for all and the short walk across town to the cafe helped build the appetite and everyone ate well and were really well behaved, as they have been all week!

This afternoon was the Zoo, something all the children enjoyed, where they were all able to throw food to the monkeys and birds which helped bring them all closer to the animals and thanks to John we all learnt a lot about what we saw, as he knew lots about all the different species on show.

The zoo is filled with birds off all kind, monkeys, peacocks roaming around the paths, wallabies (complete with a little baby joey's in the pouch!). There were red pandas, otters, tigers and leopards all easy to see and for some easy to feed!

After the zoo it was back to the hotel to get our big candle blessed (remember I mentioned about the children decorating it ready) so we found a willing priest, in Lourdes this week you don't have to go far.

Once blessed we took it down to the Grotto to be lit. All of our children and helpers had their own thoughts, prayers and wishes on the candle, along with many wonderful requests from home for prayers to be added. This is always emotional, for some, thoughts go out to their lost ones that can't be here today with us be are always with us.

Our last dinner in the hotel was preceded by everyone making a start on packing up to head home and decide what is staying here for next year. Another birthday this week meant more cake for dessert but Happy Birthday to the wonderful helper Jen Jen, we all hope you had a good day, crazy lady.

Everyone is really keen to get home and see our family and friends, not that we haven't enjoyed it here but I think you at home have all been missed? Thank you for the message we have been getting in the HCPT Tatler they were lovely and all the comments on here and Facebook have been great to see.

 

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Update

Sorry for another short delay in this post, Internet issues again, I am back with you now but I'm not sure for how long! Lets bring you all up to date with the last few days.

Wednesday was a long, busy but fun day at the beach. It was bright and sunny day so it was perfect for a day on the beach. St. Jean de Luz is a small fishing/tourist town, with a stunning long sandy beach and the sun had brought with it lots of groups from Lourdes and felt like our HCPT family was right there with us.

Once we had our packed lunch, provided by the hotel, we made our way on to the sand. Once a few footballs had gone flying around and a sandcastle was being constructed by Abbie and Cameron, Katie settled down to a good sunbathe and John had no problem if finding out how cold the Atlantic Ocean really is!

Ross loved making some helpers chase the football in to the sea and got his feet wet himself. And everyone got involved with with big parachute and all the children did brilliantly playing cricket!

Thursday morning was time for the Trust Mass. Hopefully some of you got to see the Mass on the webcams but if not they usually have the service online for a little while if you wanted to go on and watch. Have a look on the Lourdes website TV Lourdes – Le direct avec la vie des Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes | Lourdes

Trust Mass is always a very special time of the week, everyone can't help but dance, sing and be moved by the scales and warmth of the service. Over 5000 people on one place with fancy dress, face paints, flashing lights, bubbles and even very loud clown pants (should be easier to spot us on the webcams!)

The afternoon was filled with more crafts and art as the children all worked together to decorate the candle ready for Friday morning. They all wrote some prayers, thoughts or wishes on and beautifully covered the tall candle with stickers and ribbon. Tonight was all about our party! We went out for dinner tonight all in our finest costumes with Firemen, Pink Ladies, Princesses, Kangaroos and a Tiger amoungst the best of the group.

With a couple of other groups in the cafe there was yet more singing and dancing around the tables and not a scrap of food left over. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the night even with the rain bouncing on the streets of Lourdes outside.

The last act of the night is a few awards for the outstanding members of our group…the children. And we ae pleased to announce our winners are:

Best Helper – John

Best Dancer – Cameron

Best Baby Helper – Abbie

Best Pegger – Ross

Best Sunbather – Katie

One last message for the day is from our Group Leader Annmarie and Deputy Netty, to say thank you to all the helpers and the children that have helped to make this a great week for all and for helping make the week go smoothly.

Tomorrow is our final full day in France but we can't be sad as we have had a wonderful week and still have lots to do. Internet allowing we will post again tomorrow to let you know all about it.

 

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Day 3 & 4

So as we mentioned, last night was the concert. It was held in the underground basilica which can house thousands of people and it was packed last night with smiling, singing, laughing HCPT faces. We got there nice and early to get a seat near the front and soon found the theme was Joseph and his technicolored dreamcoat!

The choir and band played a collection of songs from the show, from 'close every door' to 'any dream will do'! (I bet your all signing them in your head now too!) We all really enjoyed have a sing along with the words popping up on the big screens and every group around the building were on their feet dancing along, including all of Group 75.

There was also a little appearance from a certain (cardboard) Gary Barlow!

Also it was one of our helpers birthday yesterday so Happy 50th Birthday to Alan, hope you had a great day and enjoyed the special shirt you had to wear for the day and thank you for having your birthday in Lourdes with us, the cake was lovely!

 

Day 4 has a few nice relaxing little bits to do as we have the torch light precession tonight. In the morning we went to get some photos around the basilica and then some free time if people wanted to relax or shop, John went to see and learn about Bernadette's House and Cameron, Katy, Ross and Abbie went with the other helpers to play and make things in the hotel.

Then after lunch is the little train! Some say its the highlight of the week, which must be due to the sights of Lourdes, the education talk that plays over the speakers are the little train moves around the streets. Or it could be to do with the water pistols that were used to spray innocent passers by and then they got turn and each other! Between the rain, water pistols and tears of laughter I think we all enjoyed the little train!

Thank you every one at home for your messages to the Tatler so far, they help greatly and the children love to hear from friends and family at home. Send any more to tatler@hcpt.org.uk

 

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The busy and the relaxed

We are currently on a little quiet/play time (as Group 75 is never quiet it's more of a playtime!) so here is a little update…

This morning was a trip to the caves, perfect place to visit even in the rain! It was slightly tiring on the older legs but the kids all coped brilliantly. We all joined in on a big sing song on the bus to pass the time with Rise and Shine getting better and louder with every version we do! (Just in time for the concert tonight!)

We ducked, climbed steps and explored our way through the miles or caves until we found a long boat and a little train to help us with the last section of the trip.

 

In case you can't tell the photo is of the caves but with only a few lights and a camera on the phone we were a little limited. Many others got much better and clearer photos I bet you will all see when we get home.

Lunch was lovely as ever and everyone is enjoying their food and eating really well but it's a little 'down time' so people are either catching forty winks or playing games and balloons in the hotel.

To give everyone a little more of an idea of what it is like here if you have never been to Lourdes, it is beautiful. It's a very calm and welcoming place. Everywhere you go around the town, especially this week, all the smiling faces say hello.

The patches of multi-coloured uniforms that blanket the view in every direction is a reminder if how many groups from all the different parts of the UK and from all over the world that are here and feeling the same feelings if belonging and happiness we all get from being here.

Songs fill the air from the churches, bars and hotels as you move around the tight street and the shops are always bustling with life.

We are off for an early dinner tonight as we are off to the concert for even more (and louder) singing and dancing! Post more later…miss you all at home xx

 

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Day 1 & 2!

We are here!! Day one passed by as we travelled and arrived at the hotel safe and sound. Everyone, first time visitors and experienced veterans were excited and pleased to see Lourdes and the Hotel, even through the rain.

This morning the sun has been trying to break through but a tiny bit of weather wont stop Group 75 as we went for a walk to take the escourted tour of the little museum, lead by the curators Margaret and Maureen.

Then it was the short walk down to see the Grotto for the first time. This magical place is always very busy but we were able to make our way through to Grotto and the children got to touch the walls and see the spring.

This afternoon was all about crafts and dancing! Everyone had a great time decorating their Easter eggs and all won something for making such stunning artwork!

Happy Easter everyone at home, hope your not missing us too much but we are all enjoying our holiday so far.

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Final Meeting!

Friday night was our last group meeting before we all head out for Lourdes 2013! It means the count down to go is really on!

Despite the weather, almost everyone was able to make it but the high winds and snow drifts did mange to stop a couple of people from joining us, you were missed and we are all looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.

To remind everyone, we all need to meet on Saturday morning at the St.Mary’s Kells car park at 7:30am.

Some other information from the meeting to confirm the final plans, we will have a fancy dress party while we are away so if you don’t have anything already please have a think and pack something. And be sure to pack something waterproof! Also if anyone wants any presents or postcards sending while we are there please make a list and put in case or give to one of the helpers?

There was a pack of information given out for everyone on Friday and if you didn’t get one we will make sure you get your as soon as possible, in there is some important contact information and a badge that children and helpers must wear all the time we are away.

For everyone at home we will be trying to post blogs, photos, Facebook status updates and Tweets while we are away, please comment, send messages and tweets whenever you can for all the helpers and children. The is also a HCPT newspaper called the Tatler which prints news and updates while we are in Lourdes, if you want to send a message to the group or one of the children please send your message to tatler@hcpt.org.uk.

I know the weather is cold and windy out there and in someplace it is white snow in all directions but at least we all have next week to look forward too. Here’s to another wonderful pilgrimage…

Come alive with 75!!

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Easter 2013

Hi all,

Well the time is coming and Easter for this year is almost upon us, which means…Group 75 is about to descend on Lourdes again!

With the helpers all organised and kids that will be joining us this year all picked everyone is getting excited with the sleeps counting down and the planning steps up.

We have a big list of amazing things we are going to be seeing and doing this year and plenty of fun games and activities.  We will try very hard to keep this blog upto date while we are there so that everyone at home can see how we are getting on.  We will also try to tweet on @hcptgroup75 so follow us on twitter and search for HCPT Group 75 on Facebook?

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