Tudors in 2011!

Over fifty children, aged between 5 and 11 from across the Benefice, took part in this year's 'Younger Children's Activity Week' based at Semley School.

We choose a theme each year and aim to have a few of our activities true to the theme.  This year, for example, we were delighted to have Nick Crump with us again who helped each child make a 'Nine-Men's Morris' set to take home;  this board game, although traceable back to Roman origins, was particularly popular in Tudor times. Each child also made a bag during the week to hold the Nine-Men's Morris pieces.

Trevor Sapey from the Mary Rose Trust and Lizzie Bryant from Salisbury Museum brought along Tudor clothes for the children to dress up. Trevor explained that the Mary Rose, built between 1509 and 1511 and a particular favourite of Henry VIII, was sunk accidentally in 1545 during an engagement with the French fleet.  Her remains have been recovered and are undergoing restoration in Portsmouth.  They should be available for all to see from 2012 in a new museum there, together with many of the artifacts discovered with her.  Trevor also talked about various jobs that the crew needed to be capable of and brought along authentic copies of some of the salvaged artifacts.  Lizzie talked about Henry VIII and helped the children prepare potions - containing all sorts of horrible things - that the Tudors made to capture and get rid of bad omens.  Lizzie also brought along a variety of items to help each child make and decorate their own Tudor hobby horse.

Other Tudor-themed activities included game playing and painting.  Martha Allfrey and Chris Lawton, ably assisted by several of our helpers, led the children in playing various Tudor games such as quoits.  Carole Holden masterminded our painting this year which, of course, was of the Mary Rose.  The finished masterpiece, which is three-dimensional and a credit to Carole's imagination and leadership, is on display in Semley Church.  (Let me know if you can guess what items the children used to create the 3-d effect. I will provide a decent bottle of wine to the first person who gets them all - the week's participants and organizing-team members excluded!). 

The children had lots of other activities to keep them active.  These included:  cookery;  modeling with junk, various other items, and construction sets;  pottery;  blowing giant bubbles;  parachute games;  circus skills - led by Geoff Gardner, who was with us for the fifth-year running;  singing - led by local musician David Grierson;  and an introduction to the charity 'Dogs for the Disabled' by Jill Brown, who was brought along by her dog 'Yates'.  Yates, who helps Jill with all sorts of tasks that she would otherwise be unable to do, proved a great favourite with the children.

In a TreePerhaps the highlight of the week was the tree-climbing experience provided by 'The Great Big Tree Climbing Company', a local firm led by Semley arborist Mark Hawes.  Mark and his team set up their climbing gear in Semley School's large oak tree, situated in the front playground.  Each child - and I believe there were no dissenters - was suitably kitted out in a harness and hard hat, then rope-climbed the tree to be met near the top by a member of Mark's team.  They then took an easier way down via a Zip wire, with Mark's colleague acting as brakeman.

The week ended with an excellent barbecue cooked by Rev. Steve and helpers.   Assorted goodies were provided by mums and dads, and the children produced  tasty savouries and cakes - courtesy of Queenie Fletcher and Sarah Eddowes and their cookery sessions.

Martha Allfrey has produced a picture CD of the activities; please let me know if you'd like one.  We are always happy to receive suggestions as to what we could do better or differently next time;  please let me, or any Organising-Team member, know your thoughts.

The Organising Team - Martha Allfrey, Serena Bowerman, Queenie Fletcher, Steve Morgan, Gerry Purdue and Pat Whitting - thank all the children for being so well behaved during the week.  We thank also Mrs. Moorsom for enabling us to use the school facilities and Semley Village Hall Committee for letting us take over the hall for the week.  We especially thank all who so kindly helped before, during, and after the week, without whose help we could not manage.

We'll be back again next year - this time to 'an Olympic Theme'!

Gerry Purdue