Community Service/Action Romania Recollections

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

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Golfer
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Community Service/Action Romania Recollections

Post by Golfer » Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:52 pm

There has been FAR too much negativity on this site relating to historic abuse to the extent that people are losing perspective about CH.

One of the great things that happened since my wife, Vikki, arrived at CH was the expansion of Community Service, now called Community Action.

She created the original program, Muir John Potter expanded it and set up the Romania project for handicapped Romanian children - for which he earned an MBE. Romania was the country of origin of Vikki's father.

Graham Chandler - who also went on the Romania trips - has ensure that Community Action has continued to thrive at CH. Thank you Graham for your continued selfless dedication.

It is interesting to note that the Romania trips had to be ended because Romainia had caught up with "Safeguarding" and there was no way that random CH students could any longer interact with handicapped Romanian children without proper checks.

Please post below any memories of Community Action at CH and of the Romania trips.
Last edited by Golfer on Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Community Service/Action Romania Recollections

Post by Mid A 15 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:07 am

Golfer wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:52 pm
There has been FAR too much negativity on this site relating to historic abuse to the extent that people are losing perspective about CH.

One of the great things that happened since my wife, Vikki, arrived at CH was the expansion of Community Service, now called Community Action.

She created the original program, Muir John Potter expanded it and set up the Romania project for handicapped Romanian children - for which he earned an MBE. Romania was the country of origin of Vikki's father.

Graham Chandler - who also went on the Romania trips - has ensure that Community Action has continued to thrive at CH. Thank you Graham for your continued selfless dedication.

It is interesting to note that the Romania trips had to be ended because Romainia had caught up with "Safeguarding" and there was no way that random CH students could any longer interact with handicapped Romanian children without proper checks.

Please post below any memories of Community Action at CH and of the Romania trips.
All this occurred well after my time as can be seen by my dates.

It certainly appears to have been a worthwhile project though and I do recall reading about it in 'The Blue' back in the days it was a publication distributed to both pupils and Old Blues.
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Re: Community Service/Action Romania Recollections

Post by Elvie » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:06 am

My trip to Romania was incredible, it played a large part in shaping my career choices and taught me a great deal about life in general.

I’ll never forget the raw pigs fat on bread for breakfast, nor the time the family I stayed with cooked chips and then poured the cooking oil all over my serving as I was the guest.

We did a good job of sprucing up the sports hall in between smoking cheap cigarettes and drinking cheap booze, even MJP struggled to hide the hangover one morning!
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Re: Community Service/Action Romania Recollections

Post by Golfer » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:56 pm

Vikki with a hangover would be a first. Or did you catch her "behind the bike sheds" with half a bottle of tuica?

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Re: Community Service/Action Romania Recollections

Post by Elvie » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:33 pm

Definitely not!

And I must point out that it wasn't quite as debaucherous as my post suggests, we did a lot of great work, we learnt masses about working in communities and the local culture. I distinctly remember us learning that some of the British people we met there were not doing anything nearly as compassionate as we were led to believe (nothing to do with our party). We had to distance the group from them immediately, it was handled very well.

Whilst i am appalled and angry about the crimes of a few of the teachers at CH, I am still very much influenced by some of the genuinely great people, both staff and pupils. When I see their names appear on threads it instantly evokes good memories. Such a shame that they couldn't weed out the bad ones properly.
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Re: Community Service/Action Romania Recollections

Post by Golfer » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:13 pm

Mid A 15 wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:07 am
It certainly appears to have been a worthwhile project though and I do recall reading about it in 'The Blue' back in the days it was a publication distributed to both pupils and Old Blues.
Mid A 15 - Thanks for your efforts to get this thread going.
The thing about the Romania project is that for many people - Bel is the one who has testified on this site but many others testified after Vikki Askew's death - Romania was a life-changing project. Put simply it changed their view of the world.
My son was fortunate to go on one Romania trip which Vikki organised for a girls school where she worked after CH. Fortunate in that he was the only boy on the trip! Fortunate for others in that he now gives 50% of his salary to charity, partly as a result of that lifechanging Romania experience.
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Re: Community Service/Action Romania Recollections

Post by Golfer » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:45 pm

Elvie wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:33 pm
Definitely not! [Vikki Askew with a hangover]

And I must point out that it wasn't quite as debaucherous as my post suggests, we did a lot of great work, we learnt masses about working in communities and the local culture.
While not questioning your observations about MJP I do know that preparation sessions / writing up the day went on long into the night. So tiredness might be construed as a hangover?! All the staff came back dead exhausted.
Certainly when Vikki got back I quickly learned that she needed a full week to recover and so gave her that space before questioning her about the trip.
After all going on a two week trip immediately after the end of the summer term is exhausting in itself. But the Romania trip was on another level in terms of intensity and the desire to get things right for both the Romanian children who were being helped and ESPECIALLY for the Romanian students who were part of the project and who were hopefully going to continue the work for the following year.

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Re: Community Service/Action Romania Recollections

Post by Elvie » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:03 am

I totally agree.

But I also remember being delighted that MJP had let his hair down, he completely deserved it. And if it was a case of mis-diagnosis, and he did in fact have a bug that he'd treated with a pungent local remedy, and which cleared up after a quiet morning, then I hope wherever he is he will forgive me!

Incidentally he coached us at rugby one year, instilled a high level of discipline and fitness which led to a very successful season.
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Re: Community Service/Action Romania Recollections

Post by Freshair » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:45 am

Hello,
Tim, I was so sad and shocked to hear about Vikki, I'm sure you all feel her loss greatly. I know how much energy she and MJ and later, Graham, put into all the trips to Romania.

I first visited in 1996 when we worked at School No. 8 in Craiova where I formed a strong bond with a little boy called Florin. He taught me so much and really shaped my life beyond school. I went back every year until 2006, was involved in the project in Slobozia and then as a volunteer with a small charity there. Before I had children I worked in the disability sector, for charities and the local authority. My passion for that kind of work was ignited in Romania!

I have many wonderful memories of Romania, the people, the other worldliness, the beautiful mountains, the fields of sunflowers, trips into the mountain with Radu in his old VW and the end of the project at brake neck speed (well it felt like it) round hair pin bends!! And most of all the fun and joy we all had with the chlldren and the students. I still feel very blessed to have been part of it all and often in early July I think of Romania.
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Re: Community Service/Action Romania Recollections

Post by Golfer » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:23 pm

Hi Kate,
Great Nom de Plume BTW.
I have definitely seen pictures, if not a video, of the incredible relationship you formed with that child.
Vikki is missed but never forgotten.
You were part of something special. I'm glad it helped to shape your experiences and outlook on life.
Best,
Tim
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