Forest adventures winner for church
Sherwood Forest was recreated in Whitby in early July, complete with Robin Hood and his merry band, Maid Marian, woodland animals, archers and jousters.
Hundreds of children were transported to merrie England for the first week of their school holidays thanks to a volunteerrun morning holiday programme at The Anchor Church on Joseph Banks Drive.
Fifty parents, church workers, students and congregation members put hundreds of hours into the week-long holiday programme, organiser Christine Leadbeater says.
She and husband Sandy wrote the scripts to a pantomime puppet play and volunteers went to huge effort to recreate a forest atmosphere in the church hall. Thickets of trees lined the walls and organisers were dressed in friars’ garb or in Robin Hood costumes.
Some parents took a week off work to help run the programme, and older kids who attended in previous years returned leaders, Mrs Leadbeater says.
‘‘The whole thing is volunteer, right from Sandy and I who write and design the whole thing to people building the set and painting the backdrop to baking and
as cleaning the toilets,’’ she says.
The programme began six years ago and has become hugely popular – more than 200 children attended this year.
‘‘That’s the sixth one we’ve done and it just gets bigger and better every year,’’ Mrs Leadbeater says.
Aside from watching Mrs Leadbeater take the stage as Maid Marian every day, children aged 5 to 11 got to try target shooting, jousting, sang and danced to original songs written by church youth pastor Brad de Villiers, and did crafts. The craft materials alone cost $1000, she says.
Kids were charged $5 for each morning-only session, to a maximum of $12 per family.
‘‘We don’t do it to make money,’’ Mrs Leadbeater says. ‘‘It’s just something we’re really passionate about and we know the kids really love it.’’
The church is already busy organising next year’s programme, a pirate-themed week with the Sheriff of Nottingham returning on the high seas.
Maid in Whitby: Anchor Church holiday programme organiser Christine Leadbeater delighted 200 children as Maid Marian in early July.