February 2012, picnic with children from Good Shepherd Home.

Article by Angela Davis

A fabulous day out at Great Bird Island.
The crew aboard Black Arrow are intrepid sailors and renowned for mooring in some of the most interesting and exotic harbours in the world. However, that’s not to say that they don’t have time to have fun with some of the fascinating people they meet along the way.
When moored in Antigua Black Arrow’s crew made friends with the people that run the Good Shepherd Home for Children, Bernadette and George. Between them it was decided it would be a lovely treat for the Home’s young residents if they took them out for a day’s adventure.
The Good Shepherd Home for Children is in the Villa Area of St. John’s, Antigua situated in the grounds of the St Francis of Assisi Church RC. It is a charity that provides care to girls aged between 5 and 12 years old, who are without the guidance and support of a loving family. Many of them have been victims of abuse in their former environments to such an extent that it hampers their physical, emotional, social and mental development.
Black Arrows’ Skipper Simon and his wife Gosia decided it would be a nice gesture to take the young residents out for a sail and maybe a nice beach barbecue. Crew member Richard Bird, after a leave of absence, was about to embark on his flight to Antigua to join them. It was fortuitous as he was able to fill his suitcase up with pens, crayons, sweets and all sorts of ‘girlie’ paraphernalia as welcoming gifts for the children.
Richard landed safely in Antigua and fortunately was not detained by customs for smuggling felt tips pens and other items of stationery, but sadly he did have to sacrifice a little space in his suitcase which meant him forsaking a few ’onboard’ luxuries. The day finally came around and Black Arrow set sail from Parham Bay with additional crew all fitted out in life jackets but none the less highly excited by their Caribbean sailing adventure. Skipper Simon set a course for Bird Island, which incidentally has no ancestral connection with Richard as we’re guessing its provenance is an avian one. The new crew were euphoric with excitement with no hint of mutiny amongst its ranks particularly as they were all so thrilled with their gifts.
Black Arrow did what she does best and glided through the blue waters with ease, agility, speed and precision as her name implies. The crew arrived at Bird Island, with no sea sickness casualties and disembarked from the boat with keen appetites anticipating the culinary feast that awaited them.
After several dinghy trips transporting all the charcoal and food from Black Arrow to shore and the Skipper had fired up the barbecue we eventually tucked in to our feast. We had sausages, burgers and chicken with salad and rolls. After the barbecue the girls had a great time with the surfboard, and beach balls playing amongst the sandy coral beaches and the lovely Caribbean surf. George said: “I have never seen them so happy ...except at Christmas."
A thoroughly lovely time was had by all and Skipper Simon returned the crew back to the Home safe and sound but exhausted after a fun packed day filled with adventure and excitement.
Simon added:“The Good Shepherd Home for Children is always in need of further funding to enable them to reach more children and allow them the opportunity to be reintegrated into society and live a full and rewarding life.”
If you think you may like to help this worthy cause please email:

or alternatively write to:
Good Shepherd Home for Children,
Diocesan Catholic Offices,
P.O. BOX 836, St. John’s, Antigua.
Phone Number: 001 (268) 462 2731.

To see the photo gallery from the picnic, click HERE
top of the page