A special residential trip to Flynne’s Barn

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For the second year running, Spread a Smile accompanied three of the families we support on a wonderful residential trip to Flynne’s Barn, located right in the heart of the Cumbrian mountains.

Flynne’s Barn is a very special place, set up by Katherine, Robin, and their son Harry, after their 17-year-old daughter sadly died of cancer in 2016. Named in her memory, Flynne’s Barn is a place where young people living with cancer can come together to find peace and forge friendships in the beautiful Lake District surroundings. It recognises and celebrates Flynne’s love of nature and fearless positivity in making meaningful connections with other young people with cancer and has become a mission that Katherine and Robin have put at the centre of everything they do.

This year we were joined by Amelia, Ridha and Ahmed along with their seven siblings and parents for four days, where they participated in many activities, such as pony riding, canoeing, forest school and meeting rescue dogs. They also created beautiful pieces of art with our incredible artist Marina, played many games, and enjoyed nightly campfires with music and singing. Our lovely aromatherapist, Priya, also helped everyone to unwind and relax with massage and aromatherapy treatments.

It was amazing to see the children and parents fully embrace all the activities and explore the magical environment surrounding Flynne’s Barn. The families all worked as a team when canoeing, and it was amazing the see the confidence grow in the children as they formed new friendships and learned new skills. It was an incredible escape from the world of medical treatment and uncertainty and the families were able to switch off and enjoy time together as a family, making special memories. One of the families who attended cooked a traditional Pakistani curry for everyone, and we all ate together to mark our last night together. It was such a special treat for everyone!

Spread a Smile’s Director of Services, Laura Walter joined the families for the trip saying, “We were so lucky to have the opportunity to spend four days at Flynne’s Barn with some of the wonderful families we support – all of whom have a child undergoing treatment for cancer.

“It was a jam packed few days with a range of activities which enabled our families to forge new friendships and make new connections, whilst enjoying everything the beautiful surroundings had to offer. Everyone embraced everything we did, making the most of the exciting opportunities and experiences.

“Flynne’s Barn is a very special place with a magical quality about it. It was wonderful watching the children grow in confidence and having the opportunity to just be children in a safe and tranquil environment.”

Fatma, Ahmed’s Mum said, “Thank you so much for inviting us to the Lake District. It was just the kind of respite we needed and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The children are beaming and Sarfraz (Ahmed’s Dad) and I are feeling so relaxed and refreshed.

“It was wonderful to have time away as a family to escape from treatments and hospital and it really gave us the time to breathe. The Spread a Smile team are beyond amazing. They are just so understanding, warm and gentle with the children. It was so lovely to see and also to get a chance to have a rest as an adult.”

Katherine Bonner from Flynne’s Barn said, “It’s fantastic to collaborate with Spread a Smile to bring families to the beautiful valley. The surroundings and the tremendous support that the Spread a Smile team provide has a tangible impact. It’s wonderful to see both the children and their parents settle in and embrace all Flynne’s Barn has to offer”.

Thank you to all of our supporters who make trips such as this possible.  Also to Flynne’s Barn for being such wonderful hosts and Priya and our amazing team for making the event so memorable.

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