For­est ad­ven­tures win­ner for church

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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