Heart mum, Jade, never thought she’d be the one up dancing but the Over The Wall family camp soon helped her leave all her worries behind!

Last September, Jade and her family attended our two night residential activity camp specifically designed with heart families in mind. We asked her to tell us a little bit about their experience…

When we go on a holiday and they ask for parents to come up to the front to volunteer, I am the mum that quickly hides away!


Going to the Over the Wall Family Camp, I soon realised that this camp was going to be my idea of a worst nightmare. Singing, dancing, abseiling…!


Inside I was dreading it but my partner and the kids were so looking forward to it. So, I put on a brave face and tried to show that I was excited!


When we arrived, we were greeted by such lovely volunteers and staff. They gave us t-shirts to wear and free water bottles and that’s when we met our volunteers for the weekend…

Each family is assigned either one or two volunteers to help your family in any way possible over the weekend.


From carrying your water bottles, to playing games with the kids or even making you a cup of tea… I was beginning to come around to this camp!


I realised how important these ladies were to our family. When it’s lunch time and you’ve got three kids to sort out and suddenly, you’ve got someone helping you – it’s unreal!


On the first night of the camp the children were allowed to dress the parents up and paint our faces – no rules! Our kids were in their element! I was cringing on the inside, but the laughter and smiles were worth it!

“Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the taking care and organising that we forget about the joining in and letting our hair down.”

One of my children is extremely quiet and he doesn’t like social situations. Yet, he became very close to some girls who were staying at the camp with us.


He was doing things out of his comfort zone and not wanting mum or dad there!

Our son Bobby has just turned four and has hypoplastic right heart syndrome.


Before we went on the camp we were worried he wouldn’t be able to do all of the activities that his brothers could. But he did it all, apart from the abseiling!


If it was too cold outside there was a room full of games we could take him to but this wasn’t often as he wanted to join in.


Each mealtime or group meeting means dancing! The mum who normally hides away was joining in! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the taking care and organising that we forget about the joining in and letting our hair down.

The Over the Wall family camp makes sure you do just that. No one is left holding the bags or waiting with one of the children. You have volunteers by your side making sure you enjoy your family.

We go on plenty of holidays but the Over the Wall camp was the first time we actually felt like a family with nothing holding us back.

You really don’t need to worry about anything – apart from brushing up on your dancing skills!

Applications are now open for our 2020 family camp

18 – 20 September     FREE
Two night residential family activity camp

To qualify for a place at camp, one child must be between 0-17 and have been treated at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit. If the heart child is under 8 years old, then at least one sibling must be aged 8-17 in order to take part in the designated activities and enable the family to apply for a camp place.

CHSF family camps are run in partnership with Over The Wall. If you have any queries about camp including camp activities, suitability and eligibility please email campers@otw.org.uk or call 02392 477 110