Monday, 1 September 2008

The Grand Order of Babysitters (GOBS)

The pilgrimage group I went with has the fascinating title of the Grand Order of Babysitters, (GOBS, or gob smackers?) and largely exists to take children and young adults, often of deprived backgrounds, on holiday and pilgrimage to Lourdes. Here we are at a grotto mass:


It originally started out in 1969 as a group of seven bachelors, under the direction of a redoubtable Margaret O'Rourke, who volunteered to look after the children while their parents went for a night out after a hard days work. This group gave themselves the title originally as a joke, and also later invented its trademark: wearing yellow. Here is myself in GOBS attire.


Sooner or later however, the group turned from being a practical joke into something more serious and substantive, and a full uniform developed: yellow smocks and white aprons for the girls, and yellow T-shirts for the men.


This year will have been my sixth trip with the GOBS, coming for the Lourdes jubilee after a lapse of five years. They are still going strong under its high priestess Maggie, and next year will be the GOBS fortieth anniversary.

1 comment:

Jackie Parkes said...

Great picture Oliver! Why not use it for your profile?