Irish Community & Culture
In all there was 33 clients on board with two members of staff and one volunteer. On the way to Bournemouth we had bingo, quizzes and sing songs.
We arrived in Bournemouth with the sun shining and our hotel within a few steps to the beach.
In the evening, people were starting to relax and getting to know one and other. We had a whole range of clients from married couples, mums with their daughters, single ladies and men with very different health needs. On Friday evening we just could not get people off the dance floor as there was a disco in our hotel.
Saturday was a free day and the sun just kept on shining and clients just kept on smiling they had by now got to know one another and would go for walks, swimming or sunbathing in the outdoor pool or the beach, and Noddy train rides around Bournemouth. On Saturday evening around 15 clients went into town (ages ranging from 60 plus).
Sunday brought another beautiful sunny day and there was a coach trip to Weymouth planned.
There were 26 clients on the trip and by now all were telling each other stories of life when they first arrived in England (lots of clients only came for 6 months but of course ended up staying a lot longer).
Mary* who was on the coach trip was desperate to find her father’s grave. It had been 30 years since he had died (she only knew the name of the road across from the grave yard) but we found the name of the grave and Mary, her friend (who she had met on the trip) and myself got a taxi to the grave yard.
Mary did not really have a clue as to where it might be so Mary and her friend went off to the left and myself to the right (l did not think in a million years l would find her daddy’s grave but l started praying to St. Anthony and l found it). l wish l could put into words the moment Mary walked over to the grave and said ‘Hello Dad’.
Sunday evening at dinner was another evening where clients felt confident to go and mingle with each other throughout the course of the meal and again could not keep people off the dance floor.
Monday morning came and back to The London Irish Centre but at least the sun was still shining.