Looking Back On Cricket St Thomas


Cricket St Thomas

When Editor Angela asked for volunteers for our festive break in Cricket St Thomas, I was happy to put my name in the hat.

My first experience of a “Friend” Warner Leisure holiday was our birthday weekend at Alvaston Hall in Cheshire, and the combination of meeting the readers again in a scenic setting was simply too good to turn down.

Don’t get me wrong — attending is a full-on commitment, thanks to the various events we run in conjunction with our hosts. But the smiles and laughter truly make me feel part of our readers’ holiday experience.

During our week at Cricket St Thomas, the “Friend” team were organising a craft event one minute, then setting up a contributor’s talk the next.

And with a hearty breakfast to keep us going, we threw ourselves into each day with gusto.

Happy to muck in

Some events tested my resilience more than others. Have you seen me do craft . . . ?

Luckily, my novelty Christmas turkey hat was a distraction.

But I like to think each day had the “Friend” readers’ seal of approval to it.

Church of St Thomas. Photograph by Alan Spink.

At Cricket, I was asked many different questions – from the ins and outs of magazine distribution, to the changing face of fiction, to the number of staff working on our titles.

But it was the home of the “Friend”, Dundee, that the readers were interested in the most.

Ultimately, they are interested in people, and taking the time to chat to them really makes a difference.

Our writers’ guidelines sum this up wonderfully: “our readers like people they can relate to”.

I think it’s great that they can relate to the staff at “The People’s Friend”.

Not all the readers attended all of the different events – some I only saw at the welcome and farewell drinks receptions.

But in the land of the “Friend”, sometimes just being there makes the biggest difference of all.

For more from the team, read our blog here.

Take a look at some photographs from our festive break on our Facebook page.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.