Family Day 2018 – Haven Banks, Exeter, Devon

Review by Gemma Darlow (Administrator)

This was my first Behçet’s Family Day since starting as administrator in May, and what a wonderful first experience!

We were blessed with a beautifully sunny day and a wonderful location at Haven Banks in Exeter. Just after 10am, families started to arrive in our breakout room to take part in their first Behçet’s Family Day. I was also joined by admin assistant Deborah, who took our amazing photos, and trustees Tony, Judi and Rachael.After a chance for everyone to meet and have a chat over a hot or cold drink and pastry, we split into two groups for our first activities of the day.

Climbing wall and artificial caving

I joined the group who were off to try their hand at climbing and caving. After a safety briefing and guidance from the instructors, we got started. There was a role for everyone – those who wanted to climb started whizzing up the wall (including the first-timers) and those who didn’t (including me, who discovered climbing really wasn’t my forte) could help with belaying (holding the rope) or just simply enjoy watching.

Once the group had all had a chance at climbing, those that wished to were invited to don their helmets for a crawl around the artificial caves with 50 meters of interlinking passageways and a ‘splash’ in the ball pool. Judging by the laughter, this was a hit! After this it was time to head back to our breakout room to refuel and recharge with lunch and time for a rest and a chat.


For the first activity of the afternoon, our group had a turn at archery – thankfully this was held indoors, due to the heat. After a safety briefing and lesson from our instructor on how to hold, load and shoot the bow, we got started. We had a great deal of fun and by the end of the session were achieving some very respectable scores, especially for beginners!


After a further chance for a break and refreshments, both groups joined together for the final activity of the day – canoeing. Everyone pulled on a life-vest, grabbed a paddle, posed for a group photo and headed out in canoes.

In canoes of three, escorted by the instructors, the group set off for a gentle paddle down the historic Exeter ship canal.This was the highlight of the day for most of the group, and, in case I haven’t really emphasised how hot the day was, to wrap up a perfect day and cool down some of the group treated themselves to a refreshing dip. This brought plenty of shrieks of laughter from children and adults alike!


There was just time to grab a final drink back in the breakout room before bidding our farewells and heading off. For my first Behçet’s UK event, I couldn’t have hoped for a better day. Everyone said they had a wonderful day having fun with their families and meeting other families affected by Behçet’s disease. I got the impression that all went home happy and tired – ‘good-tired’!