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Sheringham BeachLife mission draws crowds

Sheringham BeachLife 397 AR2012 : The BeachLife activity outreach for children and young people on Sheringham sea-front last week attracted crowds of youngsters, despite mixed weather. Tony Rothe reports.

“We had been praying that we would attract at least 100 people” said organiser Pete Skivington, “and when we counted up we found that over 140 young people and children had attended at least one event during the week.”
Planning for the event started last autumn, following cancellation of the Scripture Union Beach Mission in Sheringham, which had been running for 100 years. BeachLife was organised by the churches in Sheringham, and run by an army of 40 volunteers from those churches, but was supported by Scripture Union.
The activities kicked off each day with the “Beach Special”, where all ages came together at the cliff-top marquee on The Lees for music, games, drama and fun, and to introduce the day’s theme, which was one of the “I Am” statements of Jesus each day. Guest appearances from the Funky Chicken and “Mr Cornetto” with his bizarre ice-creams added to the frolics. The children and young people then split into age-groups for their “Going Deeper” to explore that day’s theme in more depth before breaking for lunch.
The afternoons saw a “build a boat” challenge on the Sheringham boating lake, mini-Olympics at the High School and a tide fight on the beach. Rain and wind failed to deter the crowds from building defences against the incoming tide, but the youngsters were forced to retreat to the nearby Burlington Hotel when the winds became gale-force, leaving the leaders to save the marquee.
The weather improved greatly for the circus-themed afternoon with barbecue on the last day, however, and the Lees resounded with screams of laughter as nearly 100 children and young people enjoyed circus activities, stocks, plate-spinning, sumo-wrestling, space-hoppers, and a bouncy castle.
Evening activities for over-11’s included a treasure hunt around the town, swimming at “The Splash” and a “quiz and chips” evening, all of which were well attended.
“BeachLife has been a huge success on two levels really” said Pete, “Large numbers of children and young people have had loads of fun whilst finding out more about God, and feedback has been extremely positive, with many people asking when next year’s BeachLife would be, so that they can plan their holidays in Sheringham. But on another level, we have developed the partnership that already existed between the churches in Sheringham, and intend to build on this for next year’s BeachLife as well as in the coming years.”
Next year’s outreach will run from Tuesday 27 to Friday 30 August 2013. But Sheringham youngsters will not have to wait until next summer to continue the fun, as the team are already planning for other events to take place in the town throughout the year.   
Visit www.sheringhambeachlife.co.uk  for more pictures of the event.
 For more information about next year’s BeachLife contact Rev Peter Skivington at youth@sheringhambaptistchurch.co.uk or phone 07919415554.
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