Lost Child, Found Child

festival babyLosing kids is the worst feelings in the world.

Although I’ve always felt festivals are one of the safest places for a child to go wandering, the reality of it happening still producing that sick panic and sinking feeling that ever parent dreads.

Remain calm…

Don’t panic…

What were they wearing?

Will I ever see them again!

Perhaps I am a bad parent?

Taking little ones to muddy fields full of thousands of people to live like refugees may not be the safest way to spend a long weekend.

Hands up.

I have to admit to losing both our kids at festivals over the years. More than once actually.

But I genuinely do believe that they are safe places and a big part of that safe feeling is created by the fabulous stewards. So when Oxfam asked me to tell you all about their ‘Oxfamily’ I was happy spread the word.

Oxfam_MainThe ‘Oxfamily’ is made up of lovely people who donate their time to help at events round the country like Glastonbury, Shambala and Bestival.

One of these very stewards recently returned one our friends kids in the dead of the night at a festival. Their 7-year-old had got up and managed to wander our of their tent while they were sleeping. The steward found her some way from the tent near the toilets and calmly kept her safe and helped her find her way back. Thank you.

Our own experience of stewarding was at the Big Chill festival many moons ago before we had our kids. We were off travelling later that year so couldn’t afford tickets. Stewarding worked out as a great way of us to be there, and even though we had reservations, it turned out to be a great laugh.

us years ago

Unfortunately I ended up on the other side of the ‘Lost Child’ situation.

Losing a child is terrifying, but finding one can be pretty scary too. Especially when you don’t have your own kids. I ended up with a strong willed 4-year-old by a lake who seemed intent on drowning himself. Luckily, the support that I had from the rest of the stewarding team helped me remain calm. Unfortunately I did end up with a screaming small tantrum to handle but eventually he was reunited with his family. Put me off kids for a few years though!

But it’s not all about finding kids (or losing them). It’s about helping others. Keeping festivals safe and at the same time helping others around the world by donating time. Oxfam get paid by the festivals for providing stewards and last year raised over £1 million to help their vital work. Brilliant hey?

I won’t hesitate to encourage my kids to join the Oxfamily when they are older if they still want to go to festivals. I think it’s an amazing way for teenagers to make friends and have fun in a safe team of people.

If you you want to find out more about ‘Oxfamily’ and stewarding at events like Glastonbury, Shambala, Beautiful Days, Boomtown Fair and Bestival read more in my post at festivalkidz.com or visit oxfam.org.uk/Stewarding


Click here to read my top tips for taking kids to festivals.


11 Responses to “Lost Child, Found Child”

  1. 1 Maddie Sinclair June 19, 2014 at 10:56

    Great post Sarah! And hooray for Oxfam (in so many different ways!)

  2. 2 Days Out Reviews (@DaysOutBlog) June 21, 2014 at 09:40

    I once lost one of mine at London Zoo – or more like she wasn’t listening and wandered off. We got a phone call from a cafe worker to tell me she’d turned up there. Bloody kids! Popping over from #countrykids to say hello.

    • 3 a field somewhere June 21, 2014 at 09:43

      It’s a horrible feeling isn’t it?
      I got really told off at a country fair by the steward who ‘found’ my 4 year old. She was absolutely fine and not that far from us. Don’t think she was really even lost but they gave me a strict talk about keeping her ‘under control’!

  3. 4 Dean B June 21, 2014 at 10:07

    I’d be terrified if I lost my 3-year-old! So far it hasn’t happened yet (knocks on wood), especially since we’ve been thinking of attending the Camp Bestival maybe next year? #CountryKids.

  4. 6 The Mummy Diary June 21, 2014 at 18:03

    Such a great idea, we were on a beach a few years ago and my son wondered off down to the see. I took my eyes of him for a moment and he was gone, not too far and I found him almost instantly but it felt like a life time. It’s great there are fab people like yourselves out there helping everyone have fun #countrykids

  5. 8 ~Merlinda~ (@pixiedusk) June 21, 2014 at 22:09

    I hope that they will expand this project to more events. I have been to an event earlier where I live. In the beach theres this Dad who is looking for someone. I hope that he found who ever he is looking for. The police is helping him but it would be nicer to have more people helping is such big event with so many people attending. #CountryKids

  6. 9 Coombe Mill (Fiona) (@coombemill) June 22, 2014 at 15:41

    Having six children Nick and I have experienced the horrid feeling of when one can go wandering off! Oxfamily sound wonderful and a very reassuring presence to have at festivals. Thanks for linking up and sharing their work with Country Kids.

  7. 10 Luana September 16, 2014 at 13:09

    When the kids wonder off!!
    I have read reviews of the iDME wristbands that help find lost kids and thought it may be helpful to mention an upgrade I found for my son; a new insert from cerql.co.uk which has a QR code. I now include loads more information plus a photo of me and his dad I can also update medical/ contact details & photo without replacing the card. Great value £1.99 for 2. Hope this is of interest to parents, regards Luana

    • 11 a field somewhere April 7, 2015 at 13:58

      Thanks for commenting Luana. I’m happy to publish the link if you are able to send me one to try out as I don’t want to really promote something I haven’t seen? You can get in touch via sarahryman at gmail dot com

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