I spent an amazing day at the children's hospice today and I wanted to share it with you. We had a visit from a guy called 'Brummie' from 'Taste for Adventure'. He is ex-SAS and spent several hours with the children and staff sharing details about survival in the wild.
A dozen or so kids, most in electric wheelchairs were fascinated as Brummie showed us how the most ordinary, everyday objects can be life-savers.
For instance, after a helicopter crash in the jungle, how did a pen and paper help to save lives? The answer is that the group of survivors realised that they were not going to be rescued after some 3 weeks of surviving near the crash site so they sent 4 people off to try to find help. Before they left, they wrote down the names of all the survivors and drew a map of the geographical features which they could see from the crash site, which included a waterfall and two streams which came together to become one. Sadly, the group of 4 fell to their deaths whilst crossing dangerous terrain. However, their bodies were found and the piece of paper made it clear that there were several others lost in the jungle. A local guide recognised where they were from the clumsily drawn map and led rescuers straight to the remaining survivors.
What a story! This guy was absolutely fascinating and had the kids (and staff) held spellbound as he told his tales. We were shown how to build shelters, find food and water and start fires. Having been shown this, staff and children proceeded to build our own shelters and after an outdoor lunch of burgers and hotdogs, they all had a turn at starting fires. We warn kids not to play with matches - quite rightly - but these deserving children had a real thrill out of starting their own fires (under careful supervision).
We were astonished to watch as Brummie rubbed an ordinary household battery against a piece of steel wool and it burst into flames! Apparently, this is one of the commonest causes of household fires when batteries and steel wool come into contact in your garage and then ignite cans of paint. You have been warned!
After saying goodbye to Brummie, we kept the fun going with a range of outdoor activities devised by the Hospice staff. Firstly there was some orienteering to test map-reading skills. Then we had to erect a shelter to keep us safe overnight in the unlikely scenario that a plane crash near the hospice had left us all trapped in the garden. Finally, they were able to test their skills at hunting down a wild animal for food. I was the wild animal and I'm pleased to say that having found me lurking in the undergrowth after a 10-minute search, they decided I wouldn't taste too good!
Fantastic fun for all concerned and many thanks to Brummie - read all about him by clicking the link above.