We started this week with a fantastic trip to the seaside. This is always a highlight and the people of #Bridlington never let us down with their kindness and generosity.
We enjoyed some time on the beach, with the sea surprisingly warm and the rain staying away, much of the time was spent jumping over waves and paddling. Dan enjoyed his sand castle building and tried to get the girls involved but we think his architectural plans proved too complicated for them and the draw of the ice creams was just too much!
We had our usual annual visit Audrey's Fish and Chip Shop where James and the staff always accommodate us. This was followed by a trip to Bayside Amusements on the seafront with Julie.
This year we were also treated to a guided tour of the #RNLIstation at Bridlington by the volunteer team there.
This was a real behind-the-scenes experience and the girls were given some great advice and a few lovely free gifts too! Please try to support the RNLI the next time you're at the seaside!
On Monday we were jumping for joy with Olympic Silver medallist Briony Page running a #trampoling session for us at Graves Health and Sports Centre
This venue and it's staff have been so supportive of our visit this year and previous years we can't thank them enough for the opportunities and memories they've made possible for the girls.
At trampoling even a few of the adults got to join in and it's safe to say they loved it. Getting in and out of the foam pit wasn't the easiest thing for all of us and some of the girls were definitely braver than others with the distances they were travelling. If however any adults fancy a post visit meet up, some of us are thinking the adult drop in sessions could be worth a go! 🤣
After a session led by an Olympic star in the morning we were looking upwards to the stars in the evening, with a trip to Chesterfield Astronomical Society (CAS)
Another clear night meant we all got to see Jupiter, Saturn and amazing detailed close up images of the moon. Sue, Ian, Pete, Rob and the volunteers at the centre were helpful, friendly and informative as always and observers were suitably impressed with the ease in which Tatsiana translated the complex terminology (we certainly are spoilt with such a good leader!)
There was glitter and nail polish galore followed by photographs around Sheffield on what turned out to be another sunny afternoon.
Wednesday was all about the animals and the continuing support of Kevin and Karen. Having meet our visitors a few years ago, this wonderful couple have continued to support CCLL Sheffield and each year take our group out to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park for the day followed by a visit to Whitby's restaurant.
Kevin and Karen presented each of the girls with their own wooden puzzle of the British Isles (a lovely keepsake as a reminder of their trip from #WoodLikeToPlay https://www.woodliketoplay.co.uk/) and then it was also time to surprise one of our visitors with a birthday cake and presents! 🎁🎉🎂
An amazing cake, once again produced by Elaine, we're beginning to think the news of Elaine's cakes has made it to Belarus and they make sure we get a birthday person in Sheffield every year now! 🎁🎂🎉
After all the activity in the morning we thought a few calming #crafts were called for in the afternoon with #KillamarshLeisureCentre once again offering a venue for us to base our activites at. Mags and Paul joined us to do some crafts and the girls showed off their creative side with tie dye, card making, luggage tags, fabric paints and much more! We just about had time to stop for pizza!
The following day was the leaving party.... can anyone believe how fast this comes around?! We had the bouncy castle from #EyUpHire www.eyuphire.co.uk - thank you Wes, and I understand it wasn't just the kids that enjoyed this!
We had fun with food at the leaving party with Matt coming to the rescue supplying knives and baking trays. Elaine bringing her butterfly frame meaning lots of pictures were taken and Louise and Salli put their hairdressing skills to use for makeover time!
The girls were also supplied with enough nail varnish from Ben and Sue to keep them busy for the next week (I think most of these came from Ben! 🤣) Jo and Tatsiana especially appreciated the nail varnish station...
The morning after was the very early start to get the girls to the train station on time. The goodbyes on the platform are never easy and suddenly reality hits that the four weeks are over. Some manage to hide the emotion but for most this is just too difficult. This year I was in the unusual position of being on the train with the girls to Manchester airport...there were tears and sad faces but also some laughs and a sing-a-long of Happy Birthday for one of our visitors.
Time for one last picture as we boarded the plane then it was the usual wait for the email to say they were all safely back home with their families.
As I write this ending to the story of the last 4 weeks in Sheffield I am sitting on a sofa in an appartment in Minsk sat next to a young lady called Anya. If you had told me 6 years ago this is where I would be I would never have believed you, however I now consider Anya and her family as part of my family. In fact I often describe everyone involved in the Chernobyl Charity in #Sheffield as part of my extended family and I'm sure others involved also feel the same. We may not see each other every week or even every month but for 4 weeks of the year we support and care for each other, putting the children from Belarus first and trying to give them an experience of a life time. I personally think we all achieve this in a fantastic way and I can't imagine doing it with a nicer bunch of people. Спасибо!! ❤
On a further note Minsk is a beautiful place...anyone fancy a group holiday?! 🤣