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Highgate Wood storyteller who brings kids Christmas ‘magic’

PUBLISHED: 14:50 12 December 2019

Sally Bailey in full flow in Highgate Wood. Picture: Diddlesanddinx / Sally Bailey

Sally Bailey in full flow in Highgate Wood. Picture: Diddlesanddinx / Sally Bailey

Archant

Highgate Wood is a place out of a fantasy story at the best of times, but this Christmas, as she has done for the last four years, Sally Bailey is hoping to transform it into a festive wonderland.

Sally Bailey in full flow in Highgate Wood. Picture: Diddlesanddinx / Sally BaileySally Bailey in full flow in Highgate Wood. Picture: Diddlesanddinx / Sally Bailey

Sally, a qualified Forest School leader who runs Sally's Adventure Club, is determined to give the children and parents who come along a sense of magic.

She runs events all-year round in the outdoors at Highgate, at Bluebell Wood in Muswell Hill, Grovelands in Southgate and Trent Park in Enfield where she uses fiction to engage children in the outdoor world.

The Muswell Hill woman explained: "It's the fourth year this year. My whole philosophy is getting kids out into the fresh air whatever the weather - to expand their imagination and encourage them to lose themselves in the woodland. Not actually to get lost in the woods, mind you."

This year, Julia Donaldson's Stick-Man is the story Sally has built a Christmas adventure around.

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She added: "I am also a massive believer in getting the family together and it's a family event."

And how does one of Sally's adventures work? She said: "The children all get adventure packs and we go in search of stick men and try to create as much magic as possible in order to get Santa to come along later on. We finish in story corner in Highgate Wood, then the big man himself arrives."

Using her "raconteur skills", Sally said she performs a version of the story for the children using props and her very own stick man toy - home-made and now her pride and joy, she said "making a creating a toy" was "much better than just buying something plastic from a shop" - before Santa arrives to surprise the children.

Sally, who worked in film before having a baby and deciding to change tack, said the adventure and the build-up of "imaginative energy" was wonderful, even for someone with the knowledge of what is about to happen.

"I know exactly how it goes, but I am still excited every time," she said. "By the point [when Santa appears] the kids have done so much work and it feels really magical."

Sally, who has lived in the area for "something like 15 years", said the events were selling out but another would be announced soon.

For more information about the sessions see Sally's website sallysadventureclub.com.


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