This was held at St Georges Weybridge earlier today. Helen who is the regional chairman who lives in Plymouth reported that she was trapped in Devon by fallen trees and high winds so there was much ad libing by several old and not so old HCPT group leaders which ensured that an educational, positive and interesting time was had by all. Not a little fun was also had...
Bernie of Group 729 and who with others from her family were originally from Baghdad made some delicious Iraqi food for lunch.
Although nearly all the London Beaumont Region's HCPT groups were represented, it was clear that most groups will be much smaller than usual for the 2014 pilgrimage. Possibly the decisions by many schools to base their holidays on fixed dates rather than plan them around Easter which will be quite late this year, has resulted in rather fewer younger helpers and children than in earlier years hence the much smaller groups.
I personally feel that Catholic schools anyway should regard students helping with children in need on a week's pilgrimage to Lourdes, as learning something so worthwhile that providing them with time off for the pilgrimage should be encouraged rather than as seems to be the case in C21, almost frowned upon.
That apart, the preparation day (or at least the sessions I attended, as group 729 was involved with a little of the post-lunch clearing up as well as some catering) was a great way of catching up personally with some old friends and learning about the ups and downs of others.
I believe Group 729 will be the only London Beaumont Group traveling down to Lourdes and back by train in 2014 as SNCF appear to be loading the fares somewhat for traveling on Easter Sunday causing the decision to be made that for groups with children, flights would be the norm this year.