Holiday Club 2013 - The Big Top

29/07/2013, 10:00 - 02/08/2013, 12:30

Pinner Parish Church Hall


The Big Top Holiday Club 2013

As I write this I can’t quite believe The Big Top has finished – my sixth holiday club for Pinner Parish Church. We had a lot to live up to following 2012’s holiday club where we astro-turfed the hall floor for our Olympics themed week so 2013 was the year the circus came to Pinner! Places for the club were as popular as ever with registers filling by mid June and a long waiting list too.

We gained an extra day of set up this year and so our four-day makeover of the hall began on the Thursday the week before the club began. We transformed the main hall into a big top with the use of some fantastic lighting provided by AB Lighting, lots of colourful material and an extra special circus sign borrowed from a London based lighting designer originally used in a real circus! Several rounds of Brenda’s sandwiches, 3 take-aways and numerous Starbucks later it was Monday morning and 127 children were lined up ready to join in a week of fun!

This year children had the opportunity to purchase a Holiday Club t-shirt to wear throughout the club so on Monday morning our big top was made even more colourful by a sea of children in yellow (4-5s), orange (6-8s) and blue! Each morning we boarded a train to the circus and learnt about the lives of several people in the Bible with a circus twist! We explored the stories of Moses (the fire breather), Daniel (the lion tamer), Jonah (the escape artist) and Samson (the strongest man) as well as dancing, craft, singing, games and workshops. Emma Bowles and her talented team, comprising of Annie Brassey, Emma Evans-Brown and Rosie Bashford, took us through our paces with some breathtaking (quite literally) dance routines and we learnt some fantastic songs too.  Lucy Taylor’s art workshops proved popular with clown biscuit decorating and life size trapeze artist designing. As well as these, children also made lion masks, stuffed fish, clown ties and hats, miniature circuses, clay candle holders, key rings and pencil cases as well as completing daily worksheets and colouring sheets. We were pleased to welcome back Katy Kartwheel for a fabulous circus workshop and the Psalm Drummers for some first rate drumming throughout the week.


Elise vs Howard was back by popular demand but this year we had a twist – another competitor in the form of Young Leader Jonty Ashton!  A bean bag race,  tricycle race, spelling bee, obstacle race and three legged race later we were 10 points apiece. After a nail-biting live final on stage, with teams made up of children of different age groups and lots of Alphabetti Spaghetti, Jonty was crowned champion.  So he’ll have to come back next year to defend his title!

We had mixed weather throughout the week, and for the first time in Holiday Club history (we think) we had a day of rain which unfortunately meant we had to postpone of family picnic. However, God obviously had a plan as the next day he sent blue skies, high temperatures and brilliant sunshine to enable us to enjoy our picnic and get to know our Holiday Club families a bit better.

On Friday we had our usual party with everyone dressing up in circus themed attire. Some fantastic costume winners including a couple of ring masters, a clown and a circus! Leaders and helpers also outdid themselves donning costumes and face-paint. Costumes included two bananas, lots of clowns, lions, an elephant, a hoola hoop and psychic Sally! I think a lot of them must have got some very funny looks on the bus to church that morning! Children were treated to some extra special entertainment starring all the helpers and leaders. Keep your eyes and ears pealed for details of a screening of this video masterpiece in the not to distant future!

Our Sunday service was packed! It was a great opportunity for parents and parishioners to come together to hear more about the club, learn the songs, boogie on down to the dances and pray for everyone involved in the club.                                                              

Each year I strive to make our Holiday Club the best in Pinner...London...England...the world and I couldn’t achieve this without the superstars who give up a week of their holiday or take time off work to make it such a success. So a few thank yous...

Hoola Hoops, Juggling Balls and Spinning Plates (4-5s groups) leaders Brenda Allanson, Anita Lomax and Sally Smythe. Lion Tamers, Fire Breathers, Escape Artists, Tightrope Walkers and Trapeze Artists (6-8s groups) leaders Father Paul Hullyer, Lucy Pinching, Emma Bowles, Jane Humphris and Reverend Kate Blake. Ring Masters (9-10s group) leader Richard Hillman.

Then there are some pretty brilliant helpers, a lot of whom give up a week of their school holidays and their lie ins: Annie Brassey, Matthew Brassey, Emily Boyle, Thomas Boyle, Charlotte Roycroft Davis, Jack McCabe, Rory McCabe, Rosie Bashford, Katie White, Emma Evans-Brown, Beth Evans-Brown, Ayesha Adey, Isabel Mattick, Ollie Humphris, Rachel Hedderick, Chris Lomax, Emily Stokes, Tim Stokes and Natasha Wait.

This year we had our biggest group of Acrobats (11 year old helpers) who took on lots of important jobs throughout the week. Thank you to Ellie Taylor, Harriet Lane, Dylan Kennedy, Dulcie Barnes Long, Abby Loomes and Tilly McCargo – we look forward to you joining us next year as helpers!

Lighting, sound, photography and projection was run faultlessly by Jonty Ashton and his team (as well as being group helpers) made up of Catherine Almond, Lisa Sheldrick and Thomas Hullyer.

My thanks go to Nick Ridge who, dressed in full clown attire, took on the role of security for the week. Thank you to Heather Brassey and her team for providing lunch for our helpers and leaders and to my refreshments team: Elizabeth Metivier, Ann Fuller, Angela Benn, Margaret Birkinshaw, Jacqui Richardson, Liz Hillman, Pat Gowman and Kath Adey. A special mention to teenager Annie Brassey for spending her Thursday evening baking scrumptious cakes to be enjoyed by everyone at the club on Friday. And thank you to everyone who helped during set up and take down from cutting out to folding material and Ian McDonald for providing his van once again to transport all the lighting, gererously provided by AB Lighting, to the church.

My final thank you is to my stage co-host, the multi-talented Howard Lush. Every year he’s made to do silly dancing, wear funny outfits and endure water being thrown at him (although this year he did get to throw “whale sick” at me) and never does he complain! This year saw him driving across London picking up Holiday Club equipment and he kept me sane during set up and take down and made the club so much fun for me and for everyone! 

Every year I find it really difficult to share with you just how fantastic holiday club is in a review article! So below are a just a few things that people involved have said about The Big Top and if you want to know more – then ask anyone involved! It is so inspiring to see God working in all these volunteers and children during the week and I am very lucky to be a part of it.


Thank you for holiday club. We really enjoyed it. It is the best thing in the world. It is fun, exciting and what’s best is that different things happen each day!


My favourite thing is when I first worked in and saw my group.


I loved making biscuits with the lovely Lucy.


We loved the circus lady, drumming, everything and creating plates!


I like singing and dancing.




My week was brilliant because I loved my teachers.


I liked when Elise got sick and water on her head!


 I have to tell you how much Tyler has enjoyed his first day! He came bounding out with smiles and stories "Mum!, it was just AWESOME!!" As first experiences go (first ever summer club) it couldn’t have been a more wonderful start, Thank you and your team so very much!  


We have a very tired but very happy Eloise! She’s had a fantastic week at the Big Top. Eloise’s words were “I don’t want it to end!” Thank you and your team of stars! 








Summary video
Leader and helper dance (Gangnam Style)


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