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Eden Camp Visit

Eden Camp Visit Thursday 8 April 2010.

We all started to meet at Henthorn at 08.15am with myself having already rounded up Roger, Marion and a new member of our camera and film crew Odin at 07.30am in Whalley. Roger was dropped off for a bacon and egg buttie whilst I collected Marion and Odin.

Everyone arrived on time apart from Morgan (2) and a message came through that her Mum's car wouldn't start - flat battery!. Help was on the way from a neighbour to kick start the car. The bus arrived at 08.30am as planned but still no sign of Morgan. I would have driven back to Whalley to get her but by the time I would have got there - so I thought and as discussed with one of the other Mum's who was in contact they would have been passing me coming the other way.

This wasn't actually the case as Morgan and a very harassed looking Sharon arrived at 09.20am. Not a good start.eden

At least the weather was okay. Off we went and what a journey. Eden Camp is a long way off especially in a 24 seater bus.

Then with so many girls on this trip (12 girls and two lads) younger age group it was toilet breaks as many times as possible.

Then for some reason we headed into or near Ripon Roger thought it would be quicker as well as them having a good ice cream kiosk!!! Roger was sitting just behind the driver. Nice idea but time was already against us. On we pushed after another toilet break.Then we hit road works after road works.

It took us until after 12.20 noon to get to the camp. Horrendous journey made longer by the delay at the start. But we couldn't and wouldn't go without Morgan (2) a positive and good member of the 'team'.

After checking at Eden Camp it was again having the group heading off to the nearest toilets then lunch.I had again given everyone a set of questions to find ranging from what was the Blitz to what was a German U Boat?

We broke up into two groups after lunch which was taken outside on some picnic tables.

Eden Camp was originally built in 1942 to house German and Italian Prisoners of War.

It has over thirty huts with each containing some aspect of the war from Women at War, The Blitz, The Home Front, The Rise of Hitler, Britain prepares, Bomber Op's,The U Boat Menace to many more aspects of World War Two.

The first Hut we entered was number 20 (Bevin Boys -Coal Mines) which was certainly dark so the young people could start gathering the information they needed and it was closest to our bus having returned their bags etc.

Each young person was also given a camera of their own 9270 photo's to take pictures as and when they wanted. Most had finished theirs in the first 5 minutes.

Good thing we had Roger and crew on board taking the other photo's and films.

We then decided to look around the camp from Hut 1 (The Rise of Hitler).

At this stage I was already struggling so the groups went off and I staggered after them -I didn't catch up until Hut 5 and several had already spotted the Junior Assault Course!!

This they could use during their breaks and chill out periods of the afternoon.

The Blitz and U-boat Huts grabbed their imagination as it was dark and full of pretend bombs going off along with smoke and life like models along with lots of carnage and the U Boat was good as it did give a feeling of being trapped in a tin can with seamen drowning in close confines.

I treated our film crew to lunch and a well earned break and shortly after brought the young people in for drinks in Hut 12. In Hut 14 the toilets were again being well used.

After this break the young people took it in turns to be filmed and interviewed on their experiences so far whilst the others went onto the assault course or into more huts on a rota basis.

Eden Camp was certainly getting busier as the day went on.

The weather was also becoming colder.

Listed here are some of the young people's comments concerning their visit.

Learned about the past, See what the people in those days had to put up with, What they 'didn't have', no lights at night, food shortages, rationing, a spitfire was a fighter plane, Propaganda was German Bullshit, so many killed, wouldn't have wanted to be in any bombings, wouldn't have wanted to be in a submarine, would have liked to have flown a spitfire.

Negatives were all concerning the journey -Too long -felt never getting there -long journey home -had some good laughs on the bus though which helped.

We started together the troops at 3.15pm to try and beat the tea time traffic -this didn't matter as we were still looking for toilets at every opportunity. We hit the traffic at every point.

We finally made it back to Clitheroe for about 6pm all shattered.

It felt as if we had been on the bus for days.

I handed a rather large pen from Eden Camp to all the young people and thanked them for today as they had done exceptionally well especially on the bus and at Eden Camp.

We all made our way home tired -exhausted but with memories and lots of photo's if they all come out!

Mel Diack

9 April 2010.