HCPT Group 75

Our little website, come alive with 75!

Example of an Easter Week

This is a little review from one of our helpers Emma Raby:

Easter 2010 (3rd – 10th April)

Last year was our second trip with as Group 75 on the HCPT Easter week pilgrimage to Lourdes.  After a very successful first year in 2009, there were high expectations within ourselves to make 2010 one to remember. Group 75, guided by our fearless leader Annmarie, has improved day on day and month on month with planned activities and fundraising ideas to get us to the point of being on the coach on the way home from yet another successful pilgrimage.

Before the week even begins, there is plenty of planning to get involved in from meeting with new helpers and the young people who will be coming away with Group 75, to the many fundraising activities, to writing risk assessment and the all important song book for new recruits. This is all managed by Annmarie and our deputy Netty Noo.

So roll forward to Easter Saturday and the long coach journey to Manchester Airport from Whitehaven…where I join up with the rest of the group (coming from North Wales – its a nice 45 minute journey for  me). Plenty of other groups are there and there is fantastic organisation from HCPT with the check in process. Celebrity spot number one David Platt – England legend, probably not as interesting to many of the group, but as an avid football fan it was to me. The fun pretty much began once the coach left Whitehaven, but really stepped up a gear when there were many more HCPT groups in very close proximity to one another, and the songs and banter began. Arriving in Lourdes and seeing the array of colours from group colours already there, we knew a good week was on the cards.

Once again we were fabulously looked after by the staff of the Hotel Padoue in Lourdes. From the moment we arrived until the moment we checked out, nothing was too much trouble. Food was lovely and bedrooms comfortable and spacious, plenty of space for Wheelchair users. There were a few groups sharing the hotel with us, and we occupied the corridor with Group 36 from the North East, who were too in fine voice.

The young people we took away with us varied in needs, and were quite quiet to begin the week, not sure of each other or the exciting and enjoyable holiday they were about to have. Soon enough the songs were flowing and week was off to a flyer.

As a group we enjoyed many activities together. A best part being visiting St. Jean de Luz, picnicking in the small park and playing many games on the beach, aswell as taking a little dip in the sea, some a bigger dip than others!! Youthfulness seems to ooze during this week, and not just for the children. We visited the animal park, where the mischievous otters got the biggest cheer. Then off to the aquarium to look at the fishes and shark.

A couple of afternoons were spent on the Meadows playing football and parachute games, where other groups come join the fun, making for the inevitable water fights and very wet helpers.

Along with the activities outside of the domain, there are also the events that all groups partake in, one of those being the Torchlight Procession. All pilgrims in Lourdes are invited to join the procession led by HCPT. It was a wonderfully visual and emotional event for all involved, finishing with sing along and dancing in Rosary Square. It was a quite a magnificent site with many candle lights and torch lights, and for the second year left me speechless.

Another great moment in Lourdes and probably my highlight is Trust Mass. Five thousand plus members of HCPT, IHCPT, ASCPG and many many more people came together in the underground Basilica. Mass began with a huge entrance procession with representatives from the groups carrying their beautiful colourful banners, and our banner stood proud amongst them. The object of the trust mass is to provide a liturgy for a huge number of people, whilst keeping it child friendly and enjoyable for all. Faces were painted, songs were sung and crazy hats were worn. It is a memorable part of the week for everyone, you can’t fail to take something away with you.

So Thursday night and it’s party time, along with Group 36. Everyone all got dressed up, we had a couple of nuns, mixed in with Dennis the Menace and not to mention a Smurf. Party games, computer games, food and drink was to be had by all, along with the awards from the week, best singer, best dancer…etc. All the children received an award pertinent to them. To see them singing, laughing and smiling and to have truly come out of their shells is great for all the helpers to see.

I think I can safely say that 2010 was a fabulous year for Group 75, and the week spent in Lourdes was magnificent. Helpers and children alike enjoyed the week, so much so we tend to not lose helpers we are only gaining…Flop (Group 36 – you know what I mean!!)

And so to Easter week 2011….Come  Alive with 75!!!

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