Our LPO stories

Here are some of our LPO stories.

These stories are building a picture of God's goodness, experienced in many ways through Spring Harvest Holidays at Le Pas Opton.

Emma Scrivener

LPO has always been a very special place for my family and me. Having holidayed here since 2003, my faith has been so significantly shaped by my encounters here. By inspiring couriers as a kid, incredible moments of worship, friends who have become like family but especially through moments with the Lord. People have often said it feels like a thin space because the gap between heaven and earth in this patch of the West coast of France feels especially thin.

Walks and time by the river were always special for me. Here I mulled over with some of my big life decisions - what to study at school, university, which boys to date, which friendships to invest in, where God was leading me in terms of career. In fact I received all my GCSE and AS and A Level results out in France!

So when I met James at my church at Durham University, I told him all about the river and how important it was to me. My family invited him to LPO the first summer we started dating and he finally got an insight into the spiritual beauty that rested in this place.

It was very apt then when he secretly arranged with my dad to come out to LPO in the summer of 2017, during his summer internship in London to surprise me. My mum and dad convinced me to come down to the river and there was James waiting! He told me he knew I had always made my big decisions down by the river so wanted me to make another big decision. He got down on one knee and the rest is history. We got married in September 2018 and the top table was called ‘The River at LPO’.

We came back to LPO last summer after a difficult few weeks following the sad passing of James’ amazing dad, David. It felt right that we could again lean into God and the family surrounding us at LPO as we walked through that season. I’ll be forever grateful for this special place!

Beri Fray

Roger and I first became involved in LPO before the site was bought:

Alan Johnson [the founder and first MD of Spring Harvest Holidays] contacted Anglican chaplaincies, seeking the help of someone fluent in both French and English.

Liz Jond was one of our congregation in Brittany and was looking for a new job, so we recommended her...and the rest is history: she was a mainstay of LPO management for many years.

Alan kept us informed of the developments in Le Fenouiller and suggested we might visit every few weeks to offer pastoral and spiritual support to those working to set up the site. This we were very privileged to do.

We were delighted to be invited to the opening weekend: one strong memory of this for me was the expression on the face of the local Mayor, who had been invited to cut the ribbon across the entrance. Because of the heavy rain the ribbon was tied between the beer pumps in the bar: the confusion on the Mayor's face was a picture!

'Is this some strange British custom?'

We were delighted to be invited to speak on several occasions, once even a bi-lingual week...a great test of our French, and finished the week with the first bi-lingual service, joined by local Catholic priest Père Robert and some of his congregation. What a privilege.

Anna Hawken

It was 2013, when my husband and I joined the Stomp, children's work team at LPO for the first time. We made amazing memories trying to stay awake after the overnight ferry, learning and worshipping with the kids, befriending the youth team and muddling our way through leading all sorts of new activities as couriers. A decade on and I'm still passionate about helping kids meet and know God. I now lead a ministry called Parenting for Faith, which is part of Christian charity, BRF. I was delighted to receive a call from Steve to ask if one of our team would come and speak this year and hope to be involved with LPO for many years to come.

Becky Hilsden

LPO holds such a special place in my heart. I was at the first ever LPO the year it started with my family the Owens from the Wirral as a 13 year old. We had a fantastic time, made some good friends and came home knowing we wanted to go back the following year! We loved it so much in fact that we went back every summer, for 2 or 3 weeks at a time for many years, meeting up with friends we made out there each year.

In 2005 I met a guy called Matt and his brother Jon from Cardiff. We became friends and stayed in touch every day and even met up a few times back at home. Six months later Matt and I started dating! We went on to get engaged in 2010. In August 2012 we missed our first ever LPO as we were getting married on the Wirral.

This year we return to LPO for the first time in 11 years and are so excited to bring with us our baby girl and let her experience the joy that is LPO. God brought me and my husband together at LPO that summer of 2005 and for that I will forever be thankful to the special holidays, experiences and friendships that LPO provides.

Helen Philip

For me, there’s no one specific story, just a wonderful group of new lifelong friends found over 19 years of visiting LPO. And a strong sense of being “at home” every time I arrive 😊.

Anonymous

When we booked our first LPO holiday, we didn't know that the months before the holiday would be filled with so many trials, stress and sadness. We came on holiday numbed with grief, and desperately trying to function "normally" for the sake of the children. It turned out LPO was exactly what we needed - a safe place to step back, be surrounded by lovely people who knew nothing of our pain, but who unknowingly supported us in the beginning of recovery. Our children relished the freedom and independence a safe space with kind and "cool" leaders, and quickly made friendships that continued long after the holiday was over.

We are seasoned returners now, and look back at that first year with gratitude. As we left site last year, the (now teenage) children's request was "can we come for longer next year?".

Yes, we can - and are looking forward to making even more special memories.
Thank you LPO, and bonne anniversaire!

Matt Young

My first experience of the travel industry was working with Oak Hall Expeditions for two years soon after University. I had studied Theology, and joined Oak Hall mainly because it was cycling distance from home and a friend from church worked there! I then tried teaching maths for two years, but when I saw a job advertised in a Spring Harvest email I knew I had to apply for it: customer services for a range of brands including Christian resources, events, and of course a holiday company! More than 11 years later, my role has changed a lot but I’m still loving it.

A few months after I started, I joined some staff members flying out to LPO for part of the Houseparty week. Unusually, it rained quite a lot, and so being a keen board gamer I took the opportunity to teach Catan to my colleagues. It was an instant hit, and lunchtime games took off back in the office, and before long I proposed running a Board Games Week as part of the LPO programme. The early years saw just a dozen or so people getting involved, but in September 2023 we’ll be running it for the 10th time and expecting over 100!

One of the most exciting things has been seeing lifelong friendships develop through the Board Games Holiday. Three marriages have even come about through it, including mine! I would love to see people coming to faith through the holiday too, as there are a good number of people who come along each time who don’t know Jesus. Who knows what the story will look like in another 10, or 20 years? Well, God does, and I’m looking forward to finding out!

Esther van Voorst

Last summer during one of the very beautiful Bible studies I asked for a sign if God would show me that I really am his child. Due to my upbringing I found that very hard to accept. I asked God for the song "No longer slaves of fear" and at the end of the morning we sang that song! Never again will I doubt! God is good!

Dave Whitcroft

We first started coming to LPO the year after it opened (19yrs ago). It's been a place where our kids have safely learned to ride their bikes, we and they made international friendships between N.Ireland, GB, France and the Netherlands, and many of the young adults from our church have followed out to serve as 'animateurs' or leading worship.

LPO is often the place that I finish off (or start) writing worship songs under the shade of a tree, with a coffee and croissant, while the kids are at their groups. A few of the kids songs have had an airing in the bar.

Communion on a Sunday morning with our kids (which isn't always possible in our denomination) has been a precious experience, and it's lovely the way many of the worship leaders open things up for others to pitch in with the music the odd time. In short LPO has been a haven, a source of Kingdom friendship, a place of discipleship and service, and a creative haven.

We're thankful to God for it, and for the many great friends we've met and made there.

Dave & Lisa Whitcroft KDMusic.co.uk

Anthony and Marion Beckett

LPO stones

We've had a number of fantastic holidays at LPO. The memories there stay with you always and to the extent that when we were asked at our church house group recently to write on a stone a few letters that have had a major impact on your lives my wife, Marion, and I had the same three letters - LPO.

No we were not sitting together either but just both clearly reflecting on the massive impact on us both during our times at LPO.

We both look forward so much to our next visit and thank the Lord for this wonderful place.

Adam Sowerby

My relationship with LPO goes back to 2004. After attending Spring Harvest in Skegness I had an application pack posted through my door for a courier role. I ignored it, the next week another came and I knew it was from God, I applied and got the job, the best job I have ever had!

LPO is infectious - I have seen healings, marriages restored and relationships blossom! There is something about when you drive through the gates and for a moment the world stops and all is well! Peace descends! And you hear it... joy! Children playing, familes laughing and worship ascending!.... After four years of being a courier and often returning to lead worship and on holiday , I still get the same excitement as I did when I first arrived as a fresh faced teen straight from college....

Happy 20 years LPO!!

Tony and Christine

We've been coming to LPO for the last 15 years celebrating with our daughter Debbie (who has Downs Syndrome), the joys of sharing the good news of Jesus with adults who have learning disabilities. Over the years we have celebrated the special week held at LPO in early June, with Prospects, and more recently Count Everyone In. In June this year we will again be down at LPO and are looking forward to meeting new friends and celebrating with them.

Stuart Nixon

We came in 2003 and were the first few people on site. We got to know a family next door whose children were the same age as ours (they featured in the 2004 SHH brochure!) This family have been really important in our lives and the lives of our children ever since (including being Godparents to one of our children). We meet up, chat on social media and regularly pray for each other.

We can't believe its been 20 years but we're so thankful to God and SHH for bring us together.

Janet and Trevor

My husband and I had always said we would go to LPO when we both retired . In particular we loved the idea of the Houseparty! So in 2012 we booked for three weeks . I was looking forward to our trip to France.as I had been caring for my mother for 12 years who was now in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, working in the NHS, and supporting my elderly father.

To say I was tired and in need of a holiday would describe me perfectly. A few weeks before we were due to travel my father suffered a heart attack. Initially I felt France was no longer an option, however, with some gentle persuasion our three week trip was reduced to one week and I reluctantly left for a shortened vacation, leaving the care of my parents with other family members. Judy Moore was the speaker that week along with David and Michael from Searchlight drama group.

Their spiritual input, friendship and most of all the joy and laughter we shared , refreshed me spiritually and physically. God met with me that week. He knew what was ahead and knew exactly what I needed . I went home ready to carry on with the care of my parents wondering how my father would be, and it was on my return that my mother died. God had met me at LPO, He refreshed me spiritually and physically through the ministry of Judy , David and Michael, ready for what lay ahead.

I will never forget that week. It was a time of laughter, spiritual blessing, new friendships, sun and relaxation. God knew what was ahead and prepared me for it. Since then we have returned every year (apart from Covid). It is a special place for us and always will be !

Steve May-Miller


When Spring Harvest’s CEO Alan Johnson was researching the “French Camping
Project” in 2001 and 2002, I didn’t pay much attention. I was Alan’s deputy
at the time and my focus was on looking after matters in the UK while he
scoured the French countryside for the right campsite.

Fast forward a few years to 2005. Alan had found the right place and pulled
off the gigantic legal, financial and logistical feat of setting up the whole
operation. Spring Harvest Holidays was two years old. But Alan needed to
focus on Spring Harvest in the UK so a new CEO was needed.

“What about Steve May-Miller? He speaks French, doesn’t he?” I can almost
hear the conversation around the Boardroom table. I understood the Spring
Harvest DNA, spoke the language, knew the region – but I was totally untested
and lacking experience as a CEO, or a President Directeur Générale, as I was
shortly to become.

Well, they offered me the job and I knew it was for me. The hard work had
been done: Alan, Ian Scott, Paul Popplestone and others had done the hard
miles so LPO was up and running. All I needed to do was guide things along
for both the UK and French operations.

So it continues to this day. Some brilliantly gifted park managers have
come and gone; each year a wonderful team assembles and delivers. Marketing,
bookings and ferries are handled from the UK.

I’ve honestly never had the feeling that this is my project. I was
entrusted with it eighteen years ago and I’ve just helped it along through
times that have swung between glorious and really difficult. I report to a
supportive Board and incredibly gracious, generous investors.

I always wanted a job that used my language skills, harnessed my business
experience, linked with my Christian faith and involved marketing and people
management. That’s what I’ve done since 2005: the best job in the world.