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Adventure holiday

26 September 2014

FOR the first time since the start of the recession, the young people of St George's, Hanworth Park, in west London, were able to go on a holiday to Adventure International, in Bude, Cornwall, thanks to a Lottery grant.

Although Hanworth Park sounds like a pleasant London suburb close to Heathrow, the Revd Paul Williamson (above) tells me that there is a lot of deprivation in the ethnically mixed area, and not many of the 25 members (with a few friends) of the St George's Youth Club who went could have afforded the full £400 for the week's holiday - let alone for the second week they were soon clamouring for. By all accounts, they had a whale of a time.

They travelled in two packed minibuses, followed by a van with their luggage accompanied by seven adult leaders. Each day started with an early-morning run or swim before breakfast, and later there were "some amazing activities". Climbing, canoeing, surfing, mountain biking, abseiling, dragon-boat racing, and kayaking were all on offer - most of them offering a chance to get very wet indeed.

Each evening, the games room, disco hall, and football pitch were fully used, and there was a TV room for the exhausted. There were competitions, karaoke, and fancy dress. The equipment was excellent, Fr Williamson says, and there were some very pleasant instructors; and the St George's group were declared the best-behaved and most trouble-free group ever.

Among the young people were a 16-year-old youth-leader, his cousin, and an air cadet - all Muslims, and all of a similar age. The joined in everything, even the mass, for which Fr Williamson tells me had brought a full set of high-church accoutrements. The young Muslims were "astounded", he said: one of them commented that they "didn't know that Christians took their religion so seriously".

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