As the Charity Liaison Officer of the 99th Garrison and a non medical escort of the Dolphin Group of Dreamflight [see www.dreamflight.org] I managed to get permission to collect for Dreamflight at the East Midlands Airport.
Being an event at airport, security was tight and I had to submit photos of the costumes and especially the weapons in advance to see if we could be accepted by the airport police/security. Fortunately, we got the all clear for the costumes and the weapons! This included correcting them on their assumption that our armour was "fancy dress"!! They soon realised that this was not the case!
The airport staff told me that their busiest slot was between 05:00am and 08:00am so if we wanted to maximize our collection we would need to be there ready to collect for 5:00am. It takes about an hour for us to get ready and get dressed so that meant being at the airport for 04:00am, which meant getting up at 02:00am and leaving base at 02:30.
So, Friday night was an early night! I was in bed for 21:00 hrs and slept quite well until just after midnight and then I was awake!
The drive to the airport was very quiet as all other sensible people were still tucked up in bed but we had a pleasant journey and I felt reasonably awake.... this feeling wasn't to last long though! The Craigster had stayed with us on the Friday night and despite him not being able to sleep even he managed to stay awake for the journey!
On arrival at the airport, we met up with Jeff, who had very kindly agreed to step in as our Lord Vader for this event at the last minute and had driven from Peterborough. We also met up with Simon who had driven from Wrexham and had picked up Darran from near Derby en route.
We were then shown the board room which was to be our base for the day and got ready. As we were short on troopers/crew I crewed for the event in my officer's uniform but we we had Lord Vader and four stormtoopers.
The airport was busy with people jetting off on their jollies between 05:00 and 08:00 and lots of people wanted their photos with us but after that the airport was fairly quiet with just a steady stream of travellers and staff wanting their photos with us. Because it was quiet and we were getting very tired we called it a day about 10:15am and in that time we managed to collect £188.41 and five euros! So, not bad but not brilliant! Given the effort we had gone to to get there so early I was hoping for more. But I'm hoping that now that the airport management know us and how we work I may be able to get permission to collect at Manchester Airport which is owned by the same company and is a much bigger and busier airport where hopefully we could collect a lot more. Fingers crossed!
We de-kitted and then went to a nearby services and had a break and a drink before setting off to base again... feeling very tired at this point but managing to stay awake which was just as well, seeing as how I was driving. We got back to base just before 2:00pm and went to bed and slept for a couple of hours!
A Huge thanks to Simon, Jeff, Craig, Jim and Darran!