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As fun, laughter and creating special memories is at the heart of what we do at Helen & Douglas House, we never miss an excuse for a party to get children, families and staff together. So, a few weeks ago, our Helen & Douglas House play team organised and put on the perfect pirate party to celebrate the summer.

Over 60 children, their families and staff, gathered in the Helen & Douglas House garden on the afternoon of Wednesday 31st July for our pirate-themed summer party with a special guest, Captain Jack Sparrow. There was plenty of treasure to unfold, games to play, animals to stroke, party food to be eaten and mocktails to be drunk. Scroll down to view the full photo gallery. 

Here are our ‘pieces of eight’ reasons why our summer pirate party rocked:

1. The games we played

There were many sword fights and battles for treasure to be had during the summer pirate party. The children (and even some adults) also enjoyed games such as walking the plank, hook ring toss, coconut shy, palm tree skittles and hook a duck. Whilst not everyone successfully managed to win at every game they played, plenty of stickers and sweets were rewarded as prizes!

2. The families and children having fun

It was fantastic to see so many of the children and their siblings, together with their Mums and Dads enjoying the party. Often the children come to stay at the hospice on their own to give their family some respite or just with their Mum or Dad. So it was nice for Alexanda, aged 11 from Northampton, to proudly show his grandma around the hospice. She was blown away by the facilities at Helen & Douglas House and loved visiting and enjoying the chance to play some games with her grandson and his Mum.
3. The mocktails, ice-cream and pirate food that was enjoyed

It wouldn’t be a party without jelly and ice-cream, so of course, it was offered in abundance (with sprinkles) and the jelly even had a special guest lurking within it…a pineapple crocodile! Our in-house catering team provided food for all of the families and staff to enjoy, with pirate-themed cakes, shark attack salad, hot dog shipwrecks, biscuit oysters and even a houmous octopus. This was all washed down with some delicious mocktails and was a real enjoyable feast for pirates.

4. The supporters who donated their time, themed items and even money, including Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow came to visit the children and many of them were blown away with his presence. Nathan, aged 8 from Banbury, loved meeting his hero and even got the chance to have a sword fight with him. Jenny, Nathan’s Mum, said on Facebook ‘Thank you to everyone involved you made our little boy’s dream come true’. Another fan was little Jack, aged 5 from Thame, who enjoyed watching Captain Jack and couldn’t stop laughing at him. Not all the children were in awe of this famous pirate though, Jasper, aged 4 from Maidenhead, did think he was a bit scary at times!

We also had some other supporters who made the party possible including the Henry Allen Trust – who all came dressed up and donated dressing up outfits, party bags and pirate-themed items and Alec’s Angels – who donated arts and crafts items and bubbles.

 5. The animals who came to visit

Some other special guests that we welcomed were the animals from Farms2ewe. They are a local company who operate mobile farm whose main purpose is to educate by bringing the farm to your location. They came along to the party and brought a variety of animals for the children to see, stroke and learn about including; Guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, hamsters, ducklings and goslings.

6. The staff and volunteers celebrating a great year together

As well as seeing children and their families together, the party was also an opportunity for our volunteers to get together with staff, with some volunteers helping on the party stalls, including Paul making mocktails at the tiki bar and Mike showing off his magic skills. Several members of staff also came along to man the games stalls and meet the families, with everyone making an effort with their pirate costumes!  

7. The Arts and Crafts

As well as fun and games, we had a selection of pirate-themed arts and crafts for the children and their siblings to enjoy at the party which were donated by the Henry Allen Trust and Alec’s Angels. There were also some wonderful cardboard houses that the children could colour in and then play inside and bubble swords.

 8.  The face painting for all

It wouldn’t be a party without a little face paint! Whilst most of the attendees wore their best pirate outfits, Lucy, one of our Community Fundraisers, was also on-hand with her top face painting skills decorating young and ‘old’ children with pirate patches, skulls and crossbones and even wounds to make everyone look like tough sea-worthy pirates!

Hannah Jones from Helen & Douglas House who organised the pirate party said ‘Huge thanks to all the staff and volunteers who helped to arrange our pirate party, as well as the kind generosity from the Henry Allen Trust for arranging for Captain Jack Sparrow to come along and for all the costumes and party bags and to Alec’s Angels for donating arts and crafts items and bubbles for the party’.

It was a fantastic day and great for us to see so many of the children who visit us for respite care and their siblings, together with their Mums and Dads enjoying the party which gave the parents a chance to meet up and to enjoy seeing their children laughing and smiling creating precious happy memories.

Take a look through our Summer Pirate Party photo gallery

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