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  • Writer's pictureMatt Woodcock

#24 Footprints.

As a relentless, restless, driven soul, when it comes to close friendship, I demand an awful lot.

Too much, my wise wife says.

It’s probably why I sometimes do people’s heads in.

But the older I’m getting, the more I struggle to particularly warm to those unreliable, glass-half-empty, shallow acquaintances.

Admittedly, I’m far better at really investing quality time and energy in those who bring a taste of life in all its fullness.

The risk-taking optimists. The hopeful adventurers.

Those intent on ‘living deep’ and ‘sucking out all the marrow of life’, as the poet Henry Thoreau wrote.

My friends Pete and Rhiannon Hale are two such people.

Kindred-spirits I’ve come to trust and treasure.

When I moved to Hull to take on a difficult pioneering role trying to breathe new life into a dying church, Pete was one of the first to come calling.

Playing music for me in a rough pub where I launched a new service, cooking amazing dinners for hungry blokes on weekends away, a voice of reassurance that things would get better.

He was a difference maker.

Not along ago, Pete and Rhiannon moved to York to start an exciting, marrow-sucking adventure of their own.

They run Footprints - York’s newest home nursery.

If I’m honest, I know precious little about what makes a quality children’s nursery.

The only personal criteria I had when choosing one for our twin daughters were: Do they look forward to going? Do they seem happy when we pick them up?

So I might not know much, but I do know Pete and Rhiannon.

I have seen how over a year ago they left their successful, highly-paid teaching jobs in Manchester to take a risk and follow a dream.

I have seen how they bought a large, ramshackle house and found a way to convert it into a lovely family home and an exciting, safe space to welcome children every morning.

I have seen how they lived on fresh air while all the work was being done, never knowing if their nursery plans would ever come to life.

I have seen how this all happened during the Covid pandemic.

And I’ve now seen how they’re being inundated with parents wanting to put their children into Footprints.

All this while trying to bring up twin baby boys of their own.

Talk about overcoming adversity.

I’m so proud of my faithful, fearless friends.

They deserve all the good things that I’m sure will come their way.

If you’ve got nursery age kids and looking for awesome people to give them the best start possible, look no further.

Check out the Footprints website at or find them on Facebook at Footprints Home Nursery.

Pete and Rhiannon are also co-leaders of our pioneering new Christian community for young adults called The Upper Room. We love it.

Here's the contact email if you fancy getting involved:

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