CHECT’s Development Manager Matt Croxall talks about a very successful members day…

Families in the North West region had a ‘monster’ of a day out this October during our visit to Liverpool’s fabulous World Museum. A fun and educational Dinosaur Workshop was just one highlight from a memorable day which saw one of our young members in particular show that he is our very own Prehistoric Professor!

Childhood Eye Cancer Trust - Members Day

“creepy-crawly workshop”

A fantastic place to meet
It’s always a bit of a risk when choosing venues for our Members’ Days around the country. Will the room be comfortable enough for our guests? Will the staff at the venue be polite and helpful? Will the workshops we have planned run smoothly? However I can safely say that the World Museum is one of the best places we have visited yet!

The day began with the families being able to explore the museum’s educational and interactive galleries. The building contains 5 floors packed with things to see and do, from a Planetarium and Space Exhibition, to sections on World Cultures and the Ancient World. There is even an Aquarium featuring fish from Anglesey to Australia.

Getting to know each other
We all met at midday for lunch and a chance to chat with either myself or our Support Worker, Julia. We also encouraged each family introduce themselves and say a little bit about their experience of Rb. This relaxed and informal time is always a great opportunity for families to meet other parents and children that have been through a similar experience.

It’s often reassuring to know that you are not the only family going through the trauma of an enucleation, or the difficulties associated with regular trips to and from hospital appointments. Events like this are therefore an important way to gain moral or practical support from people who have ‘been there and done that’ and who really understand.

Some very special champions
After lunchtime we moved on to a very special part of the day, the presentation of our CHECT Champion Awards. Six new Champions were created at this event. Some are children that have had Rb themselves and have been exceptionally brave or cheerful during their ongoing treatment. Some are siblings that have been incredibly kind and supportive during those difficult times.

All of our CHECT Champions have a remarkable and unique story to tell and we feel that they are a true inspiration to the team here at CHECT. Their stories are also a great way for us to raise awareness of Rb in the local media, so our young Champions really are helping to make huge difference.

Childhood Eye Cancer Trust - Members Day

Oliver taking centre stage

An afternoon of activities
The afternoon began with a visit to the Treasure House Theatre for a fun and informative ‘Creepy Crawlies’ workshop. Our expert presenter Paul enthusiastically introduced us to his spiders, scorpions, centipedes and a whole host of other friendly bugs. The kids found the talk really interesting and exciting, even if one or two of the mums weren’t quite so sure!

Our final session saw us step back in time with a visit to ‘Dinosaur Dave’. Here we found out about fossils and dinosaurs from all over the world. The talk even featured real-life dino-poo!

‘Dinosaur Dave’ was extremely clever and educational but was completely outshone by 8 year old CHECT member Oliver, who literally took centre-stage in order to share all of his prehistoric knowledge with the group. We definitely think that we have a new CHECT palaeontologist in the making!

Why not join us at a Members’ Day near you?
After the journey home from Liverpool to the Midlands for Julia and me, thoughts almost immediately turn to other future Members’ Days already approaching over the horizon.

Our next event sees us take a voyage out of this world with a trip to the National Space Centre in Leicester on Sunday 6th December. I’m sure that this will be another brilliant day and we’d love to see as many of you there as possible so please call me on 07821 649965 or email matthew.croxall@chect.org.uk for more details or to book your place.

There are Members’ Days already planned through to April next year, and we’ll continue to find suitable venues throughout the country so hopefully there will be an event close to you soon. Here are the next few days we have booked:

National Space Centre, Leicester – Sunday 6th December
Techniquest, Cardiff – Saturday 23rd January
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Bristol – Saturday 20th February
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh – March (date TBC)
Bockett’s Farm, Surrey – Saturday 23rd April

Please see our events listing for full details.

Hopefully all of these days will be just as good as our trip Liverpool so I hope to see you there!

Bye for now, Matt.

Liverpool CHECT Champion group

CHECT members ready for a roaring day out!