Review of the CYHU NF2 Summer Gathering 2017

A spectacular and very special weekend was had by all at the NF2 Summer Gathering in Milton Keynes. So much laughter and fun, so many first-times and achievements. We offer you a glimpse of our truly memorable time together.

As per our usual agenda, the Friday night provided a relaxed atmosphere with activities and icebreakers that help everyone to get to know each other better. It is always lots of fun (often with a healthy dose of silliness) and ignites the community spirit that sets the scene for what awaits ahead.

This year people had to be particularly courageous to join the gathering as we challenged NF2ers to leave the ground and find their way to the top of the towering walls at Big Rock Climbing Centre. Many people were struck with anxiety as they entered the centre and saw the height of these walls, wondering how they were going to even begin their ascent being legally blind, confined to a wheelchair or unable to grip a pen. But with thanks to support and encouragement from the instructors at Big Rock, Sarah from iDID Adventure and of course each other, everyone found their own unique way to the summit. This is what CYHU encourages NF2ers to believe: to have faith in themselves and their ability to find a way around the adversities that they face. So much was achieved that morning and the gang certainly left on a real high!

After lunch, the group were given time to relax back at Novotel Hotel before heading out to one of Milton Keynes’ many tranquil lakes for a short stroll. A hearty meal was then enjoyed at The Inn on the Lake where more chatter, laughter and merriment were had.


The final day of the gathering was a fantastic hands-on experience at Catanger Llama Farm near Towcester. Everyone learned about Llamas and their uses, lead the Llamas on a short trek through the beautiful woodlands at the farm, and finished the experience with a visit to the nursery meadow to meet mothers with their babies. A tasty picnic on the glorious sunny day concluded the 2017 summer gathering and everyone made their way home, some as far as Belgium, having gained many fond memories and friendships.

This was the first year that CYHU worked in partnership with The Neuro Foundation and we would like to extend our thanks to them as we would not have been able to do what we did without their generosity and support. We hope to continue working with the Foundation in the future to bring even more opportunities to people affected by NF2.

“Thank you for the amazing weekend which I will never forget. What happened in those 48 hours made me look differently at myself.” (Vincent Ilijortas)

“What an amazing weekend with amazing friends. I haven’t laughed so much, or had as much fun in ages. Met so many lovely new people too. Everyone was so positive and kind, I had such a fantastic time. Buzzing!!” (Lisa Ward)