Action packed holidays that embrace every ability

Memories - a look back through the years

People have been taking part in PHAB since 1967. Read their memories here and add your own.


It was always comfortable because we were all together. And we knew we were going to wake up to our lovely breakfast in the morning.

Elizabeth McCann, Participant, First Camp 1967

Read More 1967

…if someone was to give you a gift in life of something… that is the most wonderful gift to give to a child – friends. For a child to have friends… People they can relate to.

Elizabeth McCann, Participant, First Camp 1967


When you wake up – you’re friends you’ve made will be there – that was nice – that was a special feeling unique to the camp. I think… if anything made me cry it was that I felt that loss when I went home – massively now I come to think of it. And I think now – looking back – that was the saddest thing that we never stayed in touch.

Elizabeth McCann, Participant, First Camp 1967


This was a time of my life when I made new friends

Michael Green, Participant, First two Camps

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P – Patience Practicalities Powerful Purposeful Peaceful
H – Humility Hilarity Honor Horse-Therapy
A – Apprehension Accepting Achieving Arguing Art Acting
B – Boisterousness Blisters Beginning-to-Understand Bedtime-Bliss Beans

C – Cooperation Convincing Comprehending Creating
A – Archery Appreciation A-Guitar Achey-Body Achieving
M – Music Making-Phriends Muscles-Strengthened Making-Mistakes
P – Phascination Phatigue Phorgiving PHUN!

Dan Olson, Volunteer, Senior Camp, Sharpness 1968


Do you know – I have great memories of our breakfasts. All the children would come down in the morning and we’d have cereals, we’d have eggs, bacon, sausage, orange juice, everything we wanted and we all got on really happily together.

Elizabeth McCann, Participant, First Camp 1967


A life changing experience to meet and work with like minded volunteers who were there to help the children integrate together. My abiding memory was when the whole camp walked/ pushed up British Camp in the Malvern Hills, not far from our Base in Hanley Swan. A very steep and quite long climb. The views from the top were a delight as we could look towards Wales and the Cotswolds. I joined the committee 3 weeks later and have been on it for 38 years so far. I also married Sally , a fellow volunteer

Tony Rate, Volunteer, Junior 1978


I was 7ish the 1st time I went. My favourite activities were swimming and cinema. I remember with the cinema describing to a blind participant what was going on visually. I felt proud of myself to break my shyness with assisting someone to understand what was happening in the cartoon. I also enjoyed swimming. I remember my friend getting upset seeing a amputee remove his prosthesis to swim. I calmed him down as I discovered I had no fear nor judgement of our differences.

Matthew King, Participant, Bristol 1984


Rosie and Katie. They were our cooks. We would go out for the whole day, leaving them at the centre, and return to steaming hot trays of food.

Carlton Douglas, Volunteer, Senior 1987


We played football against the army; 11 soldiers vs 40 children–they didn't stand a chance!

Carlton Douglas, Volunteer, Senior 1988


My first camp. Led by the now chair of PHAB Maxine Ross-Wallis and Comittee member Kevin Whitaker
So many memories of this week:
The absolute enthusiasm of all the volunteers.
The way that the children were supported and looked after to complete activities.
The fun. The laughter. The comradeship. The team.
The life changing realisation that .... children first - disabilities second.
The centre being massive and having the most unreliable “stair lift”

Clare Broadbelt, Volunteer, Mega Multi 1999


A long sheet of polythene, a hill, buckets of water and some washing up liquid – the perfect ingredients for a PHAB afternoon !

Carlton Douglas, Volunteer, Venture 1999


We celebrated Christmas day, in August! Turkey for dinner, a party and a visit from Father Christmas

Carlton Douglas, Volunteer, Junior 2001


It was too light for a midnight walk so we all wore dark glasses and went out with our torches ☺

Carlton Douglas, Volunteer, Junior 2001


Bruce fell down the well at Alton Towers, I jumped in after him!

Carlton Douglas, Volunteer, Junior 2001


When Breakfree camp relocated itself to The Wingate Centre, in Wrenbury, Cheshire – things for me wouldn't be the same. It was here that I met my best friend – but we didn't realise this until many years later. So here I met Jill Butler .... and the rest is history !
And now in 2017 Jill and myself will be leading a Breakfree camp of our own at another new centre – The Pioneer Centre – it's fair to say we are certainly looking forward to this!! :))

Clare Broadbelt, Volunteer, Breakfree 2002


I remember my first ever PHAB camp and the moment when I really 'got' what PHAB was all about. Supporting a disabled child to swim, seeing how much they were enjoying the freedom of being in the water, instead of their chair, witnessing the able-bodied children interact and involve them in their games, made me realise how something so simple can be very rewarding and really proved to me how important my volunteer role was. The PHAB bug bit and 11 further Senior camps followed!

Jodie Sabin, Volunteer, Senior 2003


On my 1st camp as Leader, we were having lunch at a lake near Pensarn Harbour. It was a warm day and some of our participants were prone to overheating and one or of the volunteers were attempting to solve this potential problem. Partly in jest, I suggested to "chuck them in the lake" as it was fairly shallow where we were. Some of the volunteers actually saw this as a potential solution and within a couple of minutes half of the camp were soak. Soooo many smiles. PHAB really happened that day.

Chris Buckley, Volunteer, Venture 2003


When Joel got the Bends

James Bashford, Volunteer, Venture 2008

Read more 2008

The day I conquered the Wheelchair Assault Course

Adam Westwood, Participant, Venture 2010

Read more 2010

Birmingham PHAB Camps and Breakfree 2 2011 is always going to be one of my favourite memories as it totally changed my life, having never worked with children before. After that experience I ended up moving to Birmingham, working in residential childcare and SEN education and have now done 14 camps in 5 years, 3 as leader. Thank you for changing my life Birmingham PHAB Camps.

Ste Robinson, Volunteer, Breakfree 2 2011


Monday saw us spend the day with Everton Football Club where we had a sports session with some of their disability outreach coaching staff, which involved some football and basketball skills being showcased.
We then had a tour of Goodison Park, the home of Everton followed by photographs overlooking the pitch.

Carlton Douglas, Volunteer, Junior 2014


When I took him out for a day trip we had to be superheros so we found a wall to climb as Spider-Man!
Our team were climbing the wall when suddenly the bells started ringing, and he said "is that God?"

Phil Cowley, Volunteer, Breakfree 2014


Seeing our participants (some of whom had never been to the beach before) playing in the sea at Blackpool, and the pure enjoyment and confidence they got from that. Also, Holly's expression as the sea washed over the chair onto her lap - hot chocolate afterwards was much appreciated!!

Megan Mudford, Volunteer, Junior 2016