Stuck for children’s summer holiday ideas? Then get set for Hitchin’s Ladder 87 summer camp

Ladder 87 - Abigail Shambrook, Nina Beckwith, Ronnie Burden and Michelle Hoskin

Ladder 87 - Abigail Shambrook, Nina Beckwith, Ronnie Burden and Michelle Hoskin - Credit: Archant

Get set for a new kind of children’s summer camp coming to Hitchin during the school holidays – complete with Dennis, a well-preserved 1987 fire engine.

Ladder 87 - Ellie Stevens, Abigail Shambrook, Ronnie Burden and Matthew Beckham

Ladder 87 - Ellie Stevens, Abigail Shambrook, Ronnie Burden and Matthew Beckham - Credit: Archant

The group, known as the Ladder 87 crew, are set to host a fun gathering that promises an interactive and memorable week of fun for youngsters with important safety messages delivered in an engaging way.

They have also enlisted the expertise of community-minded people and businesses for their week-long camp which starts on Monday, including expertise on nutrition, an expert in recycling and a renowned artist.

Every day features a fun physical activity designed by the ‘ladder crew’ themselves, including assault courses, fitness sessions, team games and a ‘fire kit carry’.

Children taking part will also learn vital life skills including learning the phone numbers of the emergency services, and understanding who to contact in different kinds of emergency. They are also taught what the emergency services do to help.

Ladder 87 crew - Ronnie Burden, Abigail Shambrook and Michelle Hoskin

Ladder 87 crew - Ronnie Burden, Abigail Shambrook and Michelle Hoskin - Credit: Archant

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To continue their learning each child will receive a pack of worksheets to use during their time at the academy and afterwards at home with their families.

Ladder 87’s Mark Burgess told the Comet: “We’ve developed this over the past year, and we see it as the best way to make children aware of where they can go in the event of any kind of emergency, no matter how trivial.”

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There is also an underlying message of teamwork and achievement running throughout the whole week, with the children being put into ‘watches’ at the beginning of each day and awarded performance credit for great teamwork and participation.

Abigail Shambrook, one of the founders of Ladder 87, explained their innovative new course.

She said: “As parents, we thought an academy imparts real life skills in a fun and enjoyable way by people other than their parents or teachers.

“The educational children’s parties we offer come with a personal safety twist. We’re very excited about the launch of the inaugural summer academy within our local community.”

The Ladder 87 team are so confident children will love every minute of their week with the crew they have even promised to refund the cost of the week to parents.

The course is also based around children’s personal, social and emotional development with the youngsters set to explore real-life equipment from each emergency service, understanding real scenarios using role play, as well as learning about Ladder 87’s core values of safety, wellbeing and community.

Ladder 87 also has strong links with businesses in the community and is using them to underline the value of food education.

Hitchin’s Taymount Clinic will be reinforcing the importance of good food choice and the impact it has on our bodies, with Flints of Hitchin also collaborating.

The Clean Up Hitchin campaign is also keen to share the importance of recycling, with passionate advocate Rachel Campbell hosting an ‘Upcycle-Recycle’ project – where youngsters on the Ladder 87 camp will make and create art designed to re-enforce positive messages around the issue.

Artist Sarah Graham – whose art has appeared on the front cover of the Kaiser Chiefs album ‘Souvenir’ – is also on board to guide and advise their design a T-shirt competition.

Ladder 87 business leader Michelle Hoskin added: “We all love Hitchin. It is a beautiful town and has a thriving community.

“Being Hitchin based, we wanted to collaborate with some of the incredible businesses that make our town so fantastic.

“We are sure that these partnerships will continue year on year and our work together will bring many benefits to our bustling town.”

The academy runs between 8am to 6pm from Monday, July 31, to Friday, August 4. Costs include food, snacks and drinks.

To book or to find out more information visit

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