Baton helps overseas children

PUBLISHED: 12:59 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:12 13 May 2019

Youngsters ready for the six mile coastal challenge. Picture Katherine Ohlsen

Youngsters ready for the six mile coastal challenge. Picture Katherine Ohlsen

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Volunteers entertain service children from Denmark and the UK

Volunteers at Honiton-based charity The Baton have been giving 12 children from Denmark and the UK a special break.

For 10 years, The Baton has supported British forces' families who are facing social issues - raising awareness of the difficulties that service life can inflict, particularly on children. From an unsettled upbringing caused by often moving home and changing schools, coping with bullying, bereavement, or the return of a parent from active duty who seems 'different', service children can sadly become the invisible casualties.

Now, to expand its valuable work much further, The Baton has forged links with overseas charities to develop an international exchange initiative for allied service children.

The objectives are to boost confidence and self-esteem, to help young lives move forward and enable long and lasting friendships through shared fun, experience and teamwork.

To promote this six Danish young people, aged 12 to 18, accompanied by representatives of a Copenhagen charity that provides counselling for forces' children, paid a four-day visit to Honiton.

Their trip was made extra special by the participation of six, similarly aged, youngsters from Devon service families.

A key feature of the visit was a coastal challenge - a 6.5 mile trek along the South West Coast Path from Beer to the top of Salcombe Hill.

As Denmark's terrain is low and flat without any steep hills, the walk provided an especially unique experience for the young overseas visitors.

"It was tough and challenging but also immensely rewarding," said Alan Rowe, of The Baton.

"All the youngsters did incredibly well. The challenge promoted feelings of achievement and pride and it was great to see them supporting each other."

Other activities included clay throwing at Honiton Pottery, archery, a thrilling off-road drive at the Land Rover Experience in Awliscombe, skittles at the White Hart in Wilmington, an interactive quiz/orienteering challenge of Honiton an Easter egg hunt and a Farewell BBQ.

Added Mr Rowe: "Honiton is the home of The Baton and the warm welcome and generous support given by our community to all the children was so heart-warming and enormously appreciated."

For further information about the work of The Baton or to make a donation, make contact with the charity either by phone on 0117 230 3122 or by email at thebastionbaton@googlemail.com Alternatively, see The Baton's website at www.thebaton.co.uk

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