Blandford Youth Club says farewell to Alison

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Over the past few years every, Friday evening in term time, Alison & Joyce with their band of willing volunteers have met with a group of youngsters aged between 9-11 and had a great time at Close Encounters. However, Friday 12th July saw the end of an era. With Alison moving to London and no one to lead Youth Club, Close Encounters held its last session. Everyone came in fancy dress and there was plenty of imagination to be seen from a fairy godmother to a lady footballer, an old man to a Bosch dishwasher.

Nicci the editor of the Forum Focus who had come to take photos kindly agreed to choose the winners. Amy was our fantastic Goth girl whilst Alfie dressed as a bag of McDonalds French Fries scooped up the boy's prize. The most original dressed adults were Alan & Margaret, who came as an Australian Cowboy suitably attired with his hat with a net attached to keep the flies away and a Time Traveller.

As befitted a final evening those gathered tucked into pizza, garlic bread, chicken nuggets and crisps which were washed down with coke, lemonade and orange pop. To allow the first course to settle a little, Alison played a game with the children called Guess the Object. This caused some hilarity. Dessert was ice cream to which was added all number of delicious goodies including whipped cream and various sweet sauces.

Just before it was time to go home Alison was presented with a farewell gift. All the children had written and decorated a piece of paper that had been placed inside an album so that in years to come Alison would remember her time with the youngsters here in Blandford. There was also some chocolate and a gift voucher for Hobby craft. One of lads made a moving speech thanking Alison and the other helpers for running Close Encounters. The tuck shop that night was cleared out, the children being in their element buying all manner of sweets for just 10p each. Alison, on behalf the helpers, wished all the children well and thanked them for making Close Encounters something very special, and as they left each child was given a gift that contained a Bible message.

Though it is sad to see this outreach come to an end, we feel sure that those who have attended over the years have not only had a great time doing a number of different activities, in a safe environment, but they have made new friendships and helped others less fortunate than themselves by donating some of their tuck money to charity each week. That money has helped purchase a toilet, provide for children in Zambia and just this week a cheque for £100 has been sent to Coping with Chaos a charity in West Moors that run a Youth Club for children with disabilities. But more importantly the children have heard about Jesus and his saving grace.

The seed of God's love has been planted and who knows perhaps one day from this group of young people there may come a leader/ worker for the Lord. Let us uphold the children, the helpers and Alison in prayer.

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