2012 Park Hill Tour to North Devon – ‘Part 1’ by Dave Symons

One Monday morning in June when fifteen intrepid Hillians set out to embark on a fun-filled frolic fest in Devon, there was a spring in the step and a glint in the eye of the party. What followed over the next four days and nights ensured that come Friday morning the tourists generally resembled the rejected cast list from Shaun of the Dead.

This is an entirely factual account of how this gradual process occurred. What caused this physical disfigurement on a group who, quite frankly, already had a bit of a head start on the rest of society? The below will retell. To begin, I’ve even managed to dig out an extract of a tour diary kept by our space hopper cradling Tour Baby – Master Jamie Clarke.


Monday 18th June 2012 – Westleigh

By Jamie Clarke – Age 35 ½

“I was really excited about going on my first ever tour with Park Hill. Because I was the youngest I was told I had to look after a space hopper, which I really loved, but I pretended I hated it and cried. I got to share a room with Uncle Rob which I was pleased about. I was worried I might have to share with Uncle Phil – Daddy Lawn says he’s a bad man – but he always talks to me and offers me sweets.

When we got to Devon Uncle David said it was time to play cricket. Uncle David is a silly man because he asked Daddy Lawn to bowl and a bigger boy hit Daddy Lawn into the sheep fields all around the ground. I was frightened. Later Uncle Adam bowled two balls and got two wickets. He said the batsmen he got out were really good because they almost made the North West Devon under 12 Paralympic Team.

It rained a lot later and the game had to be stopped. Uncle Phil told me that because I had got all dirty playing I had to have a shower with him. Whilst Uncle Phil was dressing me Uncle Adam stole a pair of his shoes to win that day’s Secret Mission. Silly Uncle Phil.

When it was nearly my bedtime we all talked in the hotel. Daddy Lawn had to wear a silly tracksuit because of his awful bowling and drink something called a Pablo. He looked very unhappy and we all laughed. Then Uncle Phil made me sit on his knee but he had his mobile phone in his pocket. It made me sore. I’m not sure I like Uncle Phil because later he…”

I am informed by Mr Lawn and extensively by my legal team that, whilst the diary continues, due to its sensitive nature this is all that remains currently disclosable. Jamie may be in a position to provide more details of Monday at the conclusion of the court case. Until then, I’ll provide the rest of the week’s account.

Other noteworthy events from the first day included a fine array of apple-based shots tailor made by Andy – watch out for the remainder in the dinner raffle. In the cricket there were two wickets apiece for Sock Barford, Phil and Symons Senior, who exorcised a few demons by clean bowling “that bloke who cross-batted his way to 80” last year. Then the Major and I hit 20 odd each before (of course) it rained. We drank, we laughed, mostly at Lawny drinking a Pablo. Then I went for a kebab with Andy Clarke (who still owes me £2 from that but we’ll let sleeping dogs lie – he’s a hungrier man than I) and went back to my room to listen to Worrell snore and fart simultaneously and in equal measure…