ReVive’s Christmas party was a wonderful treat for the girls, paid staff and volunteers with laughter, fun and crepes aplenty. Thank you to everyone who made it possible, particularly through financial contributions, and to those who organised it.

As relatively new volunteers, Roz and I were touched to be involved in a night celebrating the whole of 2015. We were struck by how obviously ReVive is a big family, even if it’s rare for all the family to be together (due to most of the staff working shifts). We felt it was fitting that the staff and long-term volunteers were spoiled just as much the girls during the evening.

From the moment we arrived at the function area in the apartment block where Andy and Rose Roberts live, there was a lively and occasionally raucous atmosphere (even though no one was drinking alcohol). The area was nicely decorated, including a Christmas tree with many presents under and next to it. Everyone was dressed to impress, the girls having spent much of the day making themselves beautiful.

Throughout the evening a hired chef cooked delicious crepes to order, with a variety of savoury and sweet fillings, while we were excellently looked after by a friendly catering team.

The atmosphere stepped up a notch when it was time for the staff and volunteers to give their Secret Santa gifts. This involved taking it in turns to stand in front of everyone and offer a few, mostly humorous, clues to who the recipient was. Each recipient then did the same for the next person, mostly provoking uproarious laughter! Some adjectives about people that Roz and I had recently learnt at Portuguese language school came in handy.

Next we watched two short videos, one a spoof of Mark Ronson’s hit pop song ‘Uptown funk’ featuring most of those present, the other a look back at ReVive’s year month by month. The former was hilarious, the latter moving and heartening.

Then it was time for the presents around the tree to be distributed, with something for every guest. The girls’ faces lit up when they each received their gifts.

To keep everyone’s attention, a game of Bingo followed (a good way for those learning Portuguese to practice numbers). Tension mounted as several people got close to winning, and it turned out there were a few prizes on offer.

All good things must come to an end, so the saying goes, and before everyone knew it, it was time to head home (after all, the next day was a school day for the girls and some volunteers). There were many happy embraces and farewells before people went their separate ways with smiling faces!

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