Mount Carmel Summer Barbecue (July 2012)

With an admirable disdain for the weather forecasts for the event, we went ahead with our annual barbecue - too important to be postponed by the threat of rain - and were rewarded with a very successful, and dry, afternoon.


The summer barbecue has been a fixture in our calendar for many years. It is a day when former clients and their families come back to meet up, swap reminiscences about the old days, and catch up with the news and progress of their peer group and others.

This year just over 150 people crowded into the house and garden on July 7th. It is often said that Mount Carmel is like a Tardis, not looking anywhere big enough for its 18 bedrooms, and the same applies to accommodating the barbecue guests comfortably – which somehow it does.

The strong sense of belonging felt by Mount Carmel graduates is illustrated by the length of sobriety of the attendees – some got sober in the very first days, 28 years ago, but still return each year to visit the place where there lives were turned around. Others left 5, 10, or 15 years ago. No visitor would ever imagine, given the happiness of the occasion, that the past lives of almost all of the crowd were ones of misery and hopelessness before they found sobriety and serenity.

Ruth Allonby, CEO, said “I'm very pleased this turned out to be such a successful event.  This is a big day for a lot of our ex-clients. There is a special bond formed in treatment, because it is a very intense and memorable time in people’s lives, and it is good to see contemporaries meeting up again years after they first met here.

“But it’s a big day for the staff at Mount Carmel too. It's our best opportunity to catch up on the progress our former clients are making – new jobs, new families, new interests. It also reminds us that the work we do here is very important and necessary. We get the opportunity to help people in a very profound way, and to see examples of that, in the relaxed atmosphere of our garden, is very special.

“It’s also a time for our current clients to see what can lie ahead for them. All the catering and administration is done by our current clients, and we are very grateful that every year they put the effort in to ensure it is a success. And I look forward to the time when I’ll be seeing them back, this time as guests, as they tell me about their recovery journey”.