The day began with two minibuses filled with children, parents and helpers and Fr Alvan Ibeh, setting off happily on Bank Holiday Monday when most people were driving to the seaside not away from it.
We arrived to a warm welcome from Fr Pat Cleary and Paul Gilbert. Kettles were on and the church and facilities open and ready for us.
Fr Alvan had been offered full use of the church and we began with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament before the Parish Mass, changed to 12 noon to enable us to celebrate with the parishioners.
Faith Club provided the music, a young cantor, readers and server and Fr Alvan was the celebrant.
It was the feast day of St Augustine and he spoke to us about him and his life and that of his devoted mother, St Monica who ‘never gave up’ , praying for him constantly during some difficult times on his journey to God.
It was joyful and lovely to meet with St Mary’s very welcoming and interested community.
A picnic lunch and play in the garden, in sunshine was next and then a very special guided walk through Thetford town to the Castle Mound and park. Fr Pat was our guide, sharing his knowledge of and snippets about the town, its history and buildings with us on the way.
At the park, we first climbed the historic mound, which is the tallest Medieval earthwork in Britain, once topped with a timber castle, built in the times of the Iceni Queen Boudica, with a new motte and bailey design castle built later, in the 1100s. There was a great view from the top and a few breathless climbers!
Football, swings, exercise equipment, sunshine and being on a day out together having fun filled the rest of our park visit.
We walked back to the Parish church, with an ice cream stop by the mill stream, a peaceful little oasis although close to the town centre.
Once back, Fr Pat was thanked for his time and hospitality and he blessed us on our way back to the coast with lots of happy travellers who had experienced faith, food and fun along with friendship from another parish in our diocese.
Pictured above are the Yarmouth Faith Club members with Fr Alvah, Fr Pat and Thetford parishioners and, below, an ice-cream stop.