The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Norfolk Christian centre celebrates 40 years

Jonathan MeyrickLast weekend The Horstead Centre celebrated its 40th anniversary in style with a 12 hour sponsored zipwire challenge and a party with guests including the The Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk and the 'flying' Bishop of Lynn.



by Helen Baldry

The Horstead Centre is an activity centre for young people to come and stay and enjoy a variety of sports, physical challenges and team building events.


Forty years ago the rambling 10 bedroom Georgian rectory was home to Canon Arthur Gillion who had a vision for the site to be used to work with young people. A couple of years later the outbuildings were converted for use. The Centre was officially opened by Princess Margaret in 1970.


Over the years, The Horstead Centre has welcomed thousands of young people through its doors, some of whom were involved in the twelve hour sponsored zipwire challenge to mark the 40th anniversary. The challenge started at 4am on Sunday and finished around 4pm with the 100th zip fearlessly completed by Bishop Jonathan Meyrick [pictured above].


By the end of the afternoon 117 zips had been completed and the money raised through sponsorship with go towards essential maintenance of the Centre.


The Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Mr Richard Jewson said, “I’m very impressed. This is a tremendous place. It is so important for children to experience the space and freedom that facilities such as The Horstead Centre offer.”


The Lord Lieutenant cut a special cake which featured a climbing wall, zip wire, archery and canoeists all crafted in icing by catering manager Bibby. The text on the cake "40 years of faith, friendship and fun" summed up the day's celebrations.

Centre Manager Josie Barnett spoke of the breadth of the groups that are welcomed to the Horstead Centre and of future plans to start taking day groups so they can touch more lives.
Josie spoke about a group of young people who visited in the summer whose childhood had been snatched away because of the responsibility of their roles as young carers. She spoke of the life-changing experiences some of these young people have when they come to the Horstead Centre. “I’ve never heard such laughter in my life! Those children were given the opportunity to be children again...they had the chance to develop a bit of their spirituality."
Chair of trustees Chris Lawrence described the Horstead Centre as an "extraordinary and heart-warming place and a tribute to everybody who's worked here over the years." The feedback, stories and comments from the children who visit shows the quality of engagement they have with other children, staff and volunteers while they stay at the Centre. 


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