Sunday, 16 October 2011

99th collection for Christies Cancer Trust and send off of the Dreamflight's Pirate Group - Manchester Airport - Sat 15th October, 2011

With only about two weeks notice, the 99th was asked by Andy at Manchester airport to help them collect for Christies during the annual Christies' week He asked if we could help out on the 22nd October, but we already have an event in Wrexham that day, so, I had to ask if the event could be moved to the 15th as that was the only free day left now in October for us. Gladly, they were able to move the event to the 15th to accomodate us.
As an unexpected and welcome bonus it also meant that we were able to do something for Dreamflight on the same day as well  
Dreamflight flies out on its 25th anniversary flight to Florida on the 16th October and on the 15th October, all twelve groups of 16 children from across the UK travel to a hotel near to Heathrow before flying out to Florida the following morning. 

The Dreamflight group which covers the North West, including Manchester, is called the Pirate Group and they were due to fly from Manchester to London on the 15th!!......  So, after a few phone calls and emails and with the permission of Andy/Christies we were also able to spend half an hour with the children of the Pirate Group as they arrived at the airport with their families and before they went through to Departure.  Christie Bear/Andy and the Christie collectors came along too for the send off.  

Not going on the trip this year myself but being able to spend a short bit of time with some of the children who were going was lovely and I was glad I had my helmet on and had not done Memah... she would have ended up with a streaky face from tears.  We had made each child 99th Garrison badges with the Dreamflight and Pirate's Group logos on and put them on 99th lanyards.  They looked brill!  I'd also bought a couple of scarfs with skull and cross bones on and three pirates' eye patches for us stormtroopers to wear just to get into the Pirate swing of things. Group photos were taken of us with the children but Dreamflight has a very strict policy which does not permit photos taken of the children to be put onto facebook and social networks etc, so sadly no photos are on here of us with the kiddies.
The good people that collected with us for Christies this year and last have also very kindly agreed to help the 99th carry out a similar collection for Dreamflight at the airport next Easter.  Andy has said that he can put me in touch with the right people to arrange this! Woohoo!!!!   Thank you!!!
Going back to main reason for the day, Christies, we picked the Craigster up en route to the airport and arrived at the venue at about 08:00am. Where we met up with Simon, who, as normal, was already there.... he always gets to events early!  Ken was not due to arrive until later.
We met up with Andy and the collectors for Christies who we remembered from last year's collection and headed for the airport's transport section HQ which was to be our base for the day.  We got changed there and then all of us, including Andy in the Christie bear costume, got onto one of the airports buses and were ferried to Terminals 2 and 1 - We split into two groups. Me and Simon and Andy/Christie bear were in T2 and Jim and Craig were in T1.  One of the funniest things about doing a troop at Manchester airport though is the looks on the peoples' faces as they see a bus driving past them as they go about their daily business which is full of Stromtroopers.. there were lots of looks of amazement and disbelief and some probably wondering if they really had had that much too drink the night before!!
The morning went quite quickly, broken by our visit to T3 to see the Pirate Group at 11:30. We had a steady flow of people going off on their jollies who were happy to put money into the collection buckets. 
We stopped for lunch and then split between T2 and T1 before re-grouping as one group in T1 when things got really quiet mid afternoon and called it a day at about 4:00pm. To get from T1 to T2 though we used the airports travelators and again there were lots of amazed and amused  travellers who could not quite believe what they were seeing.    
And, I am very pleased to report that Andy has counted the monies and a whopping  approximate £1500 was collected!!!  Thank you!!
We de-kitted and then had a well earned break and drink in a cafe in T2 arrivals and then setting home back to base.  This was another lovely troop and well worth the extra effort it took to go and see the Pirate group off.  I also got to have my photo taken [at my insistence] with two rather young and attractive pilots!!
Huge thanks to Ken, Craig, Jim and Simon and the Pirate Group leader - Maia , and Andy, the transport manager at the airport and all the Christies collectors. A good day and a fantastic result!