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A virtual trip round the New Forest

Brockcare is run by Brockenhurst Parish Church to offer activities and support for older residents in the New Forest village. Their Holidays@Home initiative is an annual three day ‘virtual’ themed holiday based in the church hall. This year’s event focussed on the wonders of the New Forest on their doorstep, with help from the National Park. Parish administrator Sharon Dibden takes up the story.

Earlier this month guests enjoyed a three day virtual holiday on our virtual bus learning more about the beautiful New Forest. This was our seventh year of holding this event, which enables elderly Brockenhurst residents to enjoy a special time of companionship, fun and entertainment.

The three day holiday, based in the church hall, is run by Brockcare, our local home visiting and support organisation. We are very grateful for the generous donations from The Groome Trust and the Parish Council which help us to keep the cost down for our guests. We had new helpers and guests as well as some ‘old hands’ and there was a great atmosphere all round.

The hall was transformed by Matt Stroud from the New Forest National Park Authority with banners and cut out animals (below), as well as deer antlers and skins. We had some handmade decorations and the days were full of fun and friendship, entertainment and chat. Revd Canon Diane Webster led a Thought for the Day each lunchtime which gave us all a few minutes to focus on God and was a welcome chance to pause amongst the busyness and noise.

On Tuesday Mr John Purkess regaled us with a talk and slide show on how Brockenhurst residents amused themselves in days gone by. A few of our guests are Forest born and bred and recognised people in some of the photos. There were lively discussions and we all learnt something about our own village. A surprise visit from Issy, Jenny and Dave, three local Morris dancers was greatly enjoyed, with singing and music accompanied by short tasters of local dances. A Forest-themed tea completed the day with tasty cakes provided by the talented Elyse Paulson.

Wednesday saw a visit from Jane Overall from New Forest Marque, she gave an entertaining talk and our guests took part in a taste testing challenge comparing shop bought and locally made goods. We had an exercise class with Toni Potterton to work up an appetite for our locally sourced venison lunch which was followed by strawberries donated from the New Forest Fruit Company.

Real minibuses then turned up from Age Concern New Milton and the amazing drivers took our guests off on a scenic route across the New Forest to Carlo’s Tea Rooms in West Wellow.

On Thursday we were visited by Susie Moore from the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst. She told us all about the animals of the forest, particularly the deer, which was fascinating. She brought antlers and even a stuffed owl and badger! Lunch was locally made sausages from the award-winning Sway Butchers and Abbie Marsh generously donated New Forest ice cream for dessert.

As our craft activity the guests had decorated hats with playing cards, bows and feathers to create ‘Mad Hats’ for the afternoon. There was a short talk by Sharon Dibden about Alice Liddell, who was the real life Alice in Wonderland and her links to the New Forest followed by a sing-a-long concert with Cynthia Wilson and the Sing for Fun ladies.

The holiday was rounded off with a Mad Hatters Tea Party, once again the amazing themed cakes were made by Elyse Paulson.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped and supported us, including the National Park Authority, the drivers and cooks. It was a super holiday for us all.

This entry was posted by Communications on Monday 21/09/2015


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