Anna HawkenIt was 2013, when my husband and I joined the Stomp, children's work team at LPO for the first time. We made amazing memories trying to stay awake after the overnight ferry, learning and worshipping with the kids, befriending the youth team and muddling our way through leading all sorts of new activities as couriers. A decade on and I'm still passionate about helping kids meet and know God. I now lead a ministry called Parenting for Faith, which is part of Christian charity, BRF. I was delighted to receive a call from Steve to ask if one of our team would come and speak this year and hope to be involved with LPO for many years to come.
Our LPO stories
Here are some of our LPO stories.
These stories are building a picture of God's goodness, experienced in many ways through Spring Harvest Holidays at Le Pas Opton. If you'd be willing to share yours (you can remain anonymous, but we do like names and photos!), please do so here.
For me, there’s no one specific story, just a wonderful group of new lifelong friends found over 19 years of visiting LPO. And a strong sense of being “at home” every time I arrive 😊.
When we booked our first LPO holiday, we didn't know that the months before the holiday would be filled with so many trials, stress and sadness. We came on holiday numbed with grief, and desperately trying to function "normally" for the sake of the children. It turned out LPO was exactly what we needed - a safe place to step back, be surrounded by lovely people who knew nothing of our pain, but who unknowingly supported us in the beginning of recovery. Our children relished the freedom and independence a safe space with kind and "cool" leaders, and quickly made friendships that continued long after the holiday was over.
We are seasoned returners now, and look back at that first year with gratitude. As we left site last year, the (now teenage) children's request was "can we come for longer next year?".
Yes, we can - and are looking forward to making even more special memories.
Thank you LPO, and bonne anniversaire!
My first experience of the travel industry was working with Oak Hall Expeditions for two years soon after University. I had studied Theology, and joined Oak Hall mainly because it was cycling distance from home and a friend from church worked there! I then tried teaching maths for two years, but when I saw a job advertised in a Spring Harvest email I knew I had to apply for it: customer services for a range of brands including Christian resources, events, and of
course a holiday company! More than 11 years later, my role has changed a lot but I’m still loving it.
A few months after I started, I joined some staff members flying out to LPO for part of the Houseparty week. Unusually, it rained quite a lot, and so being a keen board gamer I took the opportunity to teach Catan to my colleagues. It was an instant hit, and lunchtime games took off back in the office, and before long I proposed running a Board Games Week as part of the LPO programme. The early years saw just a dozen or so people getting involved, but in September 2023 we’ll be running it for the 10th time and expecting over 100!
One of the most exciting things has been seeing lifelong friendships develop through the Board Games Holiday. Three marriages have even come about through it, including mine! I would love to see people coming to faith through the holiday too, as there are a good number of people who come along each time who don’t know Jesus. Who knows what the story will look like in another 10, or 20 years? Well, God does, and I’m looking forward to finding out!
Esther van Voorst
Last summer during one of the very beautiful Bible studies I asked for a sign if God would show me that I really am his child. Due to my upbringing I found that very hard to accept. I asked God for the song "No longer slaves of fear" and at the end of the morning we sang that song! Never again will I doubt! God is good!
Dave and Lisa Whitcroft
We first started coming to LPO the year after it opened (19yrs ago). It's been a place where our kids have safely learned to ride their bikes, we and they made international friendships between N.Ireland, GB, France and the Netherlands, and many of the young adults from our church have followed out to serve as 'animateurs' or leading worship.
LPO is often the place that I finish off (or start) writing worship songs under the shade of a tree, with a coffee and croissant, while the kids are at their groups. A few of the kids songs have had an airing in the bar.
Communion on a Sunday morning with our kids (which isn't always possible in our denomination) has been a precious experience, and it's lovely the way many of the worship leaders open things up for others to pitch in with the music the odd time. In short LPO has been a haven, a source of Kingdom friendship, a place of discipleship and service, and a creative haven.
We're thankful to God for it, and for the many great friends we've met and made there. Dave & Lisa Whitcroft KDMusic.co.uk
Anthony and Marion Beckett
We've had a number of fantastic holidays at LPO. The memories there stay with you always and to the extent that when we were asked at our church house group recently to write on a stone a few letters that have had a major impact on your lives my wife, Marion, and I had the same three letters - LPO.
No we were not sitting together either but just both clearly reflecting on the massive impact on us both during our times at LPO.
We both look forward so much to our next visit and thank the Lord for this wonderful place.
My relationship with LPO goes back to 2004. After attending Spring Harvest in Skegness I had an application pack posted through my door for a courier role. I ignored it, the next week another came and I knew it was from God, I applied and got the job, the best job I have ever had!
LPO is infectious - I have seen healings, marriages restored and relationships blossom! There is something about when you drive through the gates and for a moment the world stops and all is well! Peace descends! And you hear it... joy! Children playing, familes laughing and worship ascending!.... After four years of being a courier and often returning to lead worship and on holiday , I still get the same excitement as I did when I first arrived as a fresh faced teen straight from college....
Happy 20 years LPO!!
Tony and ChristineWe've been coming to LPO for the last 15 years celebrating with our daughter Debbie (who has Downs Syndrome), the joys of sharing the good news of Jesus with adults who have learning disabilities. Over the years we have celebrated the special week held at LPO in early June, with Prospects, and more recently Count Everyone In. In June this year we will again be down at LPO and are looking forward to meeting new friends and celebrating with them.
We came in 2003 and were the first few people on site. We got to know a family next door whose children were the same age as ours (they featured in the 2004 SHH brochure!) This family have been really important in our lives and the lives of our children ever since (including being Godparents to one of our children). We meet up, chat on social media and regularly pray for each other.
We can't believe its been 20 years but we're so thankful to God and SHH for bring us together.
Janet and Trevor
My husband and I had always said we would go to LPO when we both retired . In particular we loved the idea of the Houseparty! So in 2012 we booked for three weeks . I was looking forward to our trip to France.as I had been caring for my mother for 12 years who was now in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, working in the NHS, and supporting my elderly father.
To say I was tired and in need of a holiday would describe me perfectly. A few weeks before we were due to travel my father suffered a heart attack. Initially I felt France was no longer an option, however, with some gentle persuasion our three week trip was reduced to one week and I reluctantly left for a shortened vacation, leaving the care of my parents with other family members. Judy Moore was the speaker that week along with David and Michael from Searchlight drama group.
Their spiritual input, friendship and most of all the joy and laughter we shared , refreshed me spiritually and physically. God met with me that week. He knew what was ahead and knew exactly what I needed . I went home ready to carry on with the care of my parents wondering how my father would be, and it was on my return that my mother died. God had met me at LPO, He refreshed me spiritually and physically through the ministry of Judy , David and Michael, ready for what lay ahead.
I will never forget that week. It was a time of laughter, spiritual blessing, new friendships, sun and relaxation. God knew what was ahead and prepared me for it. Since then we have returned every year (apart from Covid). It is a special place for us and always will be !
When Spring Harvest’s CEO Alan Johnson was researching the “French Camping Project” in 2001 and 2002, I didn’t pay much attention. I was Alan’s deputy at the time and my focus was on looking after matters in the UK while he scoured the French countryside for the right campsite.
Fast forward a few years to 2005. Alan had found the right place and pulled off the gigantic legal, financial and logistical feat of setting up the whole operation. Spring Harvest Holidays was two years old. But Alan needed to focus on Spring Harvest in the UK so a new CEO was needed.
“What about Steve May-Miller? He speaks French, doesn’t he?” I can almost hear the conversation around the Boardroom table. I understood the Spring Harvest DNA, spoke the language, knew the region – but I was totally untested and lacking experience as a CEO, or a President Directeur Générale, as I was shortly to become.
Well, they offered me the job and I knew it was for me. The hard work had been done: Alan, Ian Scott, Paul Popplestone and others had done the hard miles so LPO was up and running. All I needed to do was guide things along for both the UK and French operations.
So it continues to this day. Some brilliantly gifted park managers have come and gone; each year a wonderful team assembles and delivers. Marketing, bookings and ferries are handled from the UK.
I’ve honestly never had the feeling that this is my project. I was entrusted with it eighteen years ago and I’ve just helped it along through times that have swung between glorious and really difficult. I report to a supportive Board and incredibly gracious, generous investors.
I always wanted a job that used my language skills, harnessed my business experience, linked with my Christian faith and involved marketing and people management. That’s what I’ve done since 2005: the best job in the world.