Wednesday, 21 September 2011

99th Collection for Dreamflight at The Arena Retail Park, Coventry - Sat 17th Sept 2011

The 99th was asked to help out one of my friends [Katie] at her collection for Dreamflight at the Arena Retail Park in Coventry.  See
Me and Katie became good friends in 2009 when we both did Dreamflight together for the first time.... we were Dreamflight virgins!!  Its fair to say that the first time that you do Dreamflight as an escort you do feel a little bit like a rabbit in the headlamps as it can be very daunting and at times overwhelming but with the help and support of the other adults members of the Dolphin Group - particularly our group leader, Jo - 
we supported each other and together we got through it relatively unscathed and pre-warned should we ever be asked to do Dreamflight again.  
Fortunately, for me I did get asked back last year and had my second trip.  This year, its Katie that's going and not me.  Hope you have a great time Katie.... the second year is so much better!! Knowing what to expect helps a lot!!

Anyway, Katie set herself a target last year of raising £3500.00 for Dreamflight which is basically how much it costs for one child to go on the trip.  So far she has held a barn dance and nail evenings and took part in a zipwire event in Manchester and raised over £2000.  This was a much more quieter event for her to take part in!! no safety net required!
We set off from base at about 7:00am with the Craigster and got to Coventry for just after 09:00 where we met up with Katie and with Paul and his son, Rhys.  We were given the conference room in the management suite to get changed in and be our base for the day.  We got changed and then set up in the shopping centre.  Initially, we had been told that we would have to be in two separate groups and although we tried this for a while it was clear that we would have a greater impact as a group of one so Katie had a quiet word with security and they agreed to us standing as one group outside Carphone Warehouse.
The morning was fairly quiet but things picked up a little bit after lunch and we were kept fairly busy.  A photographer turned up from the Coventry Evening Telegraph so we may appear in that this coming week.  Katie was excellent crew for us as was Rhys and I believe that he took about 300 photos!!  Some of which are on here.. thanks Rhys!!
There was one little girl that made the day for us worthwhile.  She loved us all and came for a hug from each of us but was particularly taken by Lord Vader/Paul. She invited us to her birthday party.. but had just come out of hospital that day after having a fairly serious operation.  She was such a happy little girl though and made us all realize why we do what we do.  We were also able to suggest to her carer that she thinks about getting her nominated for Dreamflight as she would be an ideal candidate.

We also had one lady come up to us her knew all about Dreamflight as her son had been on the trip in 2008!!  This was amazing as my experience at collections for Dreamflight is that most people do not know Dreamflight or what it is about despite it being a national charity and to have someone come up to you who knows all about it is quite refreshing!  She had even been on the Dreamflight 25th anniversary event at Heathrow on the bank holiday weekend in August.
We trooped until about 4:00pm and then called it a day but not before a well earned visit to Starbucks for some well earned liquid refreshment and cake!!  We collected £203.65!!!  Thank you!!!!
A huge thank you to Katie for organising the event for us and buying our lunches and to Jim, Craig, Paul and to Rhys. for taking all the photos! They're brill ... thank you!!   A lovely day's troop and one of three that the 99th were attending that day across the UK in Coventry, Wrexham and Newcastle.... we rock!!!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

99th collects for the Wirral branch of the MS Society at the Pyramids Shopping Centre, Birkenhead - 3rd September 2011.

The 99th was asked to support the Karen of the Wirral Branch of the MS Society at one of their local collections.  We have helped them out at the Cherry Tree Centre in Wallasey previously but this one was at the Pyramids Shopping Centre in Birkenhead.

No Craigster on this one as he was on his jollies so we set off from base at about 7:30 and arrived at the venue at about 09:10 to meet up with Colin, Eric and Simon. We were later joined by Paul and Mel with Jack, Lucy, Finn and Cora. We had two stormtroopers, two biker scouts, one Royal Guard, An Imperial Gunner, Sith Apprentice, Anakin Starfighter Pilot and one Jedi.
We were given the Management Centre's conference room as our base for the day and after meeting Karen we got ourselves changed and ready.  We were then with the public from about 10:00 until 4:00pm and we were very, very busy.  The people of Birkenhead were very keen on us and were very generous.  Some of them recognised us from the event at Spaceport on the 13th\14th August.  The amount collected is a fabulous £583.92!!! a huge thank you to all involved and all who contributed!!  
We even had one lady who wanted to have her photograph taken with us with her lying flat on the floor, one trooper pointing a gun at her head and two of us with a foot on her belly... that is exactly what she wanted.. and we gladly obliged for which she donated £10.  
She has since joined the 99th's Fan page on Facebook and has made the following collage.
Another person, gave us a £20 note and didn't even have his photo taken with us.
We broke for lunch in shifts and sadly, Paul and his family had to leave us then.  Colin changed into his Imperial Gunner costume for the afternoon and we were just as busy.  At times it was just a steady flow of punters wanting their photos.
A special mention has to be made of Eric, who was excellent crew for this event and provided all the photos for this blog as once, again, I did not get chance to take any... Thanks Eric!!! And to Simon for travelling from Wrexham.
A lovely happy event with great people and a reminder of all things good about trooping, including a nice cuppa and cake afterwards and the post troop photo xx