Goodbye to Banana Island


As school and church life return to normal and  the sets and craft materials are packed away Jeff asked me to jot down a few words about the Going Bananas holiday club.  As many of you will know we took over Smallwood School for the mornings of the 1st to  5th August for our Going Bananas holiday club.

On Monday we were ready to go, 80 children (40 from Astbury and 40 from Smallwood schools) were booked in, the set was painted and erected, songs and drama practised and ready, a team of 20 volunteers busied themselves with last-minute preparations.  In this short moment the thought crossed my mind if after all this any of the children would actually come?

My fears were unfounded however: soon children flooded through our doors and the holiday club was on.  Led by our captain Jim Russell assisted by the Banana Buddies Jo  Cuttell and Alice Perry we were flown each morning to Banana Island where we met a different biblical character each day going bananas for God. 

Our mornings consisted of drama, craft, games, video, worksheets and music.  Through the benefit of our own personal time machine we have been introduced to Noah, Gideon, Elijah, Zacchaeus and Jemima who poured perfume on Jesus’s feet.  In our craft sessions we have made mobiles, painted T-shirts, constructed boats, puppets, masks and friendship bracelets. With the help of our excellent banana band we have learned many new songs perhaps a favourite of which is of course the going bananas song.

One particular highlight of each day was the mashed bananas challenge in which volunteers undertook a messy game involving among other things custard, water, syrup and flour.  Despite this we had no shortage of volunteers!

In addition to the holiday club itself, on Friday we also put on a coffee morning for parents to meet and join in the songs with the children at the end of the week. Our week was concluded on a high note with a holiday club family service in Astbury Church. Led again by our captain, the service gave a taste of the Going Bananas week for everyone who attended, even down to the banana challenge! Well attended by parents and children the collection for our service of approximately £140 has been donated to the Niger and West Africa Emergency Appeal to assist aid agencies helping to alleviate the effects of drought and famine in Nigeria and surrounding countries.

It only remains for me to say one huge thank you to everyone involved in making this holiday club happen.  I am immensely grateful to the team who have worked tremendously hard in running such a successful club.  I also offer my thanks to the team that put on our coffee morning on Friday and to everyone who has collected materials for us and offered prayer support during the week.  Can I also say a particular thank you to the people in Smallwood who put on a team lunch every day to allow us time to recover and think about the day to come.

My special thanks also go to Pat McDonald the head teacher of Smallwood School who allowed us to take over her school and for all the work she put in behind the scenes which helped the smooth running of the club, not to mention her starring rôle in the drama on Friday morning. I believe our holiday club has been a great success, a success that could not have been achieved without the hard work of everybody who has been involved.  Although I have high hopes for the future, perhaps we need to let everybody recover a little bit more before we raise the dreaded question of next year!


Yours in Christ,





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