Desert Island Favourites

by Matthew Worthington - 27th April 23

desert island favourites

We’re committed to supporting all employees with their mental and physical health to ensure Ribby Hall Village is a safe, healthy and happy place to work.

Mental Health First Aid England have some fantastic resources and exercises that aim to build deeper connections among teams. One of these is Desert Island Favourites. Inspired by BBC Radio 4’s famous Desert Island Discs, this activity encourages team members to connect, discover more about one another, and find common interests.

So, we caught up with some of our Mental Health First Aiders to discover their Desert Island Favourites…one book, one song, and one luxury item they would take…

Download the activity sheet to use with your teams >>

Kelly Woodall 

Book: This was cruel… how to choose between the 7 Harry Potter books! I will have to go for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; long enough to keep me reading for a good while, enough drama to keep me entertained and a few tears at the end to remind me that being stuck on a desert island isn’t the worst thing that could happen.

Song: Reach by S Club 7 – an all time cheesy favourite that never fails to make me smile and jump up dancing!


Luxury Item: I feel like I should choose a picture of my family… however I’m going to go with my slippers – comfort is key and I hate having cold feet 😊

Ian Whitby

Book: Most of the books I read are either music based non-fiction or classic dystopian sci-fi (think 1984, Handmaids Tale, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep and the like). Neither type feels suitable for being stuck on a desert island, so I’d probably go for something cheerful and comforting like Lord Of The Rings or Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Novels (all of them 😊)

Song: I listen to (and buy) an awful lot of music, I mean an awful lot; I get the shakes if I miss a weekly visit to the record shop. We had to convert our garage into a room to hold my CD and Vinyl collection and it’s getting worryingly full. I’d struggle to choose 100 tracks, the thought of having to choose just one song for the rest of my life has made me come out in hives! But, here goes…my favourite artist is David Bowie and my favourite band is The Charlatans, but I couldn’t narrow it down to just one of their tracks, so they are out. Maybe something punk or indie…. Or some funk or soul? Hmmm, nope it needs to fit with sunny island life, so I’m thinking reggae and a song that always puts a smile on my face, so I’ve gone with John Holts “Ali Baba”.

In all honesty, I’d soon get bored of even this so there’s only one thing to do… sharks or no sharks, I’m definitely swimming for it!!!

John Holt 'Ali Baba' (Official Audio) - YouTube

Luxury Item: This is the easiest of the three. It would be a solar powered coffee machine with an endless supply of good quality coffee pods – that’s just one thing honest. If it broke…well, I’d just swim for it.

Lee Craig

Book: The Art of Resilience (Ross Edgley) It was fascinating to read how someone can have the stoic mindset to be able to swim around Great Britain in 157 days whilst not being able to touch dry land.

Song:  Simply the first dance at my wedding.

Luxury Item: Parasol I’d burn on a desert island.


Ann-Marie Gould

Book:  I was not surprisingly bookish and I read this for the first time at primary school. My primary school was so small it totaled 30 children and I was responsible for looking after a little corner\library where people could donate books to the school for us and I read everything! This was one of the first and a favourite and probably reminds me of that time reading wandering off in my imagination.

Song: This one is not easy! Music is therapy to me and I like all sorts from Billie Holliday to Metallica…maybe Bohemian Rhapsody. Bit of a mix in there to suit different moods.

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (Official Video Remastered) - YouTube

Luxury Item: I was stuck between a painting or a hand carved wooden box full of letters! My painting (not by me but a local artist I suck at painting) I asked her to do this for me of the house I lived in growing up. We in no way had all the flowers that are on the painting but my dad, who is no longer with us, was a keen gardener and always wanted to have his gardens exploding in colour. This is to remind me of him and home. The wooden box though if I took that, it is full of letters from family and friends past and present, letters from my brother when he was away in the army, pen pal letters, poems etc. Everything is so fast these days and no one ever seems to write letters anymore. Having all those letters to read I guess would mean I felt a little less lonely on the island….or if it was desperate I can use as kindling 😊


Sarah Houseman

Book: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I could read this book again and again. It is amazing…and also quite long so should keep me occupied for some time on my Desert Island! It is the type of book where you feel like you really know the characters and wonder what they are doing for a long time after you have finished reading.

Song: Drops Of Jupiter by Train has has always been a favourite song of mine since its release when I was 15. I based my A-Level art exhibition on this song as the lyrics are very visual. I could sing it at top volume on my Desert Island.

Luxury Item: A fluffy dressing gown! Perhaps as odd choice for a desert island, but I am sure there are chilly nights! This luxury item will remind me of home and keep me cosy in monsoon season!


Natalie Westgate

Book: Making wine from fruit & flowers!

Song: Girls just want to have fun by Cyndi Lauper

Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Wikipedia

Luxury Item: Henry Cavil – so he can fly me home!

Henry Cavill dropped as Superman weeks after announcing return to role | Warner Bros | The Guardian


Matthew Pote

Book: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. I would take the whole Hunger Games series if I could but if I had to pick one it would be Mockingjay. This is a book I can re-read easily which transports me into my own world with shockingly relatable characters and a compelling story. I used this book in my history coursework as a commentary on the Roman Empire.

Song: Kingdom by Downstait! As a huge WWE fan and someone who requires music to help motivate them, this song is the perfect choice. It is an upbeat song with captivating lyrics and has been a constant in any of my playlists since hearing it for the first time.

Luxury Item: Snorkel! I would take a snorkel for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the practical benefits of being able to go under the water to aid survival. But, mainly to further explore the island and its marine depths as someone with an interest in aquatic wildlife.


Kerry Wootton

Book: The Four Winds By Kristin Hannah; this book sets the scene so well and I was hooked. It is a story of great loss and hard times but also of hope, survival and the generosity of strangers.

Song: Give me Everything By Pitbull and Ne-Yo; I love this song, it is upbeat, happy and reminds you to live for today!

Luxury Item: The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter; after a day in the sun I love using this and coconut is one of my favourite summer scents.


Helen Fletcher

Book: Happy By Fearne Cotton

Happy: Finding joy in every day and letting go of perfect: Cotton, Fearne: 9781409175070: Books

Song: Hello By Oasis

I just made this cover for Hello inspired by the official lyric video. Such an amazing song. : r/oasis

Luxury Item: Coconut Oil

Coconut Fragrance Oil


Get involved! Share your Desert Island Favourites below or take part in the activity as a team – you can download the activity sheet here.


Please note, from Monday 24 April 2023, the AI app Woebot is no longer be available as part of the Medicash Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

The Ribby Mental Health First Aiders are a point of contact and support for an employee who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. You can get in touch with a MHFA directly, through your line manager, or HR, or by emailing If you would like to access a counselling service, or need immediate support please call our Employee Assistance Programme through Medicash on 0345 565 1851.