A massive thank you to everyone who has supported my charity day
Well I just don’t know what to say and believe me for those who know me this does not happen that often.
I cannot think of where to start to tell of how the charity fundraising party has gotten as big as it has.
I have all my Christmas gifts wrapped in the loft, they are all tagged and in bags ready for me to give out. All my cards are stamped and ready to be posted.
So I needed a project as I like to have things to plan and I have my little boy’s second birthday party all in hand too. Harry won’t be two until next May but the venue is booked and invites are sorted along with the guest list, decs etc.
So I decided to plan a pottery party for my mum friends and their little ones. I asked my friend Justine who has the best pottery business (Original Ceramics – Hampton) if she would be free to come and do pottery with us.
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She said she would love to and so we fixed a date for a week nearing Christmas but that was not half-term week as this was planned as a small coffee morning.
I text my friends to let them know of the date and that I had booked the Trinity Church Hall. I asked all the mums if they would be happy to pay �2 each so that between us we could cover the cost of the hall hire.
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I suggested that all us mummies bring some different food bits so that we could set up a table with all the food on it and then we could share and all eat together. Everyone thought this was a great idea.
So for a number of weeks this is how it stayed - just a simple pottery party for those of my friends who were free on November 7 between 10.30am and 2pm to be able to come play.
Then I asked my friend Lynsey, who is a trader for the card company Phoenix Cards, if she would like to bring along a selection of her cards to display and sell on the day. She was only delighted to have been asked.
My friend Dina and her daughter Ana make beautiful gifts and can personalise things like Christmas stockings etc and so I asked if they would also like to take part and join the fun. So we were up to three tables but again that was all that was planned.
I can honestly say that have no idea how or when it went from just those three tables to the 10 we now have.
I do know how we ended up with as many great raffle prizes - this is due to all the lovely, kind and helpful people we have in our town, Cambridge, Peterborough and Wadenhoe.
These people own and run successful businesses and when I approached them asking if they would consider donating a small prize for the raffle I had somehow started to organise their response simply blew me away.
The prizes I started to get were in fact what made this event grow to the extent it is today. The prizes were just too good to go into a raffle at a small coffee morning and I wanted all of the people who gave these prizes to get a mention for their kindness. The more I asked around the more great prizes I got.
One Sunday morning while I was out for my run I ran past an ice-cream van that had a man sitting in it. As I ran by I thought to myself ‘ice-cream van and kids’ so I ran back, knocked on the van window and as soon as I mentioned to Wesley what I was organising and that proceeds are all going to Great Ormond Street Hospital he said that his family have a little boy who spends a lot of time at the hospital and that he was sure his mother in law would be only too happy to help me out with my planning.
The following Monday I got a call from Jo and we discussed my plans and I asked Jo if she would be happy to bring her ice-cream van to the event (which at this point was still set to be held at the church hall) and perhaps offer the kiddies a free ice-cream. Jo said she would gladly do this.
I then called my husband Mark and told him of this new development and so it was that day while I was sitting in my car on my lunch break talking on the phone to my husband we decided that I need to get in touch with the newspaper again and ask if they would be happy to do some pre-event advertising and to let the public know that all are welcome to come and have fun on November 7. All of this kindness that all the people I approached have shown needs to be seen and shared by as many people as possible.
The fact that I was about to call the newspaper and go public with this fundraising party meant that the church hall would no longer be big enough to accommodate all of the people who would be coming and so I got on the phone to The Oliver Cromwell Hotel and I explained to Belinda what I was organising and of how I now needed a bigger venue.
I asked if there would be any chance at all that I could have the use of their biggest function room (for free to hold our fundraising party. I got an answer straight away and that answer was “yes”. This is how great everyone has been.
Belinda did not have to think twice, she just told me straight away that she was happy they could help.
My next thing to do was to cancel the church hall (I might be Irish but even I know to book a new venue before cancelling the first one) and then to make two other phone calls. These calls were to Julie’s Bakery and The Cock Inn.
When our event was to take place at the church hall I had asked Julie’s Bakery if they would supply a buffet for the mums and The Cock Inn if they would provide food for the kids.
Both establishments acted in the same way as Belinda at The Oliver Cromwell did in that they said “yes” straight away.
So as soon as I knew I was moving our party to The Oliver Cromwell I rang Julie at Julie’s Bakery and Chris at The Cock Inn and I explained to them both about the change in plan and of how they were off the hook.
I went on to say to them that if they would still like to donate a prize for our raffle that that would be amazing. Needless to say we have prizes from both places in our raffle to be drawn on the day of our party.
My reason for planning the so-called ‘small pottery party’ for a date that was not in the school half term was because I did not feel confident about planning a big event. Well I think it’s safe to say that I no longer feel that way.
Every day this party gets bigger and bigger. I go to bed at night thinking of new things we can do and I wake up thinking about things we can do.
I am enjoying every second of all the planning and arranging. But do you know what part I am enjoying the most? I am enjoying how organising this fundraising party has enabled me to get to know the great people who own businesses in our little town of March and surrounding areas.
I walk into shops in town now and the people know who I am and smile when they see me and we chat and we laugh and it is such a great feeling.
I really think that this charity event has brought us all closer together as a town and I am pleased to have been able to be a part of it all.
Next week I am meeting up with a mum who’s little girl has been treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital. This mum rang me up after reading about our fundraising party to ask me if there is anything she can do to help me. Anything at all.
We are meeting up for a coffee, to talk and for me to give her some books of tickets as she wants to help me sell them to her friends and family.
Last week we did not know each other and next week we will be working together for a good cause.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped to make this fundraising party as big as it now is. I hope I remember everyone.
Here goes: The Oliver Cromwell Hotel for the use of their function rooms, Abracadabra for providing the balloons and floor decorations on the day to make the rooms colourful for the little ones, Flowers4Events for the flower arrangements that will be decorating the tables and that will also be raffled off at the end of the day.
To Julie’s Bakery, The Cock Inn and The Trinity Church Hall for their willingness to help when our party was small and in its early days and to Davern Workwear Ltd for covering the cost of the first run of 1,000 tickets which have sold out.
I would like to thank Elaine Coates from March Foods for replying to my letter by asking me to send her books of tickets and that she would do her best to sell them for me.
I want to thank Julie’s Bakery, March Quality Meats and The Griffin for selling tickets for me.
The following are all of the people who have so far given prizes for our raffle: (In no particular order) The Plate and Porter, Clarks Shoe Shop, The Family Fish Bar, The Griffin Hotel, P.J Coles, March Quality Meats, Paul and Terry Hussey, Betts Butchers, Sky Larks Garden Centre, Pigeon’s Farm, The Alpine Health Club, Sue Rayner Photography, Inspiration Nails, Once Upon A Cake, Flowers4Events, Bellezza Beauty Spa, Julie’s Bakery, Alan Bank’s Garage, Imperial Bento, Little India, Roll Out The Red, Wadenhoe House, Woodfen Lodge Spa, Johnson’s Crocodile Farm, The Cock Inn, Mallett’s Jewellers, Tanz and Thai Retreat, The George Campbell Leisure Centre, Paul’s Valeting, Big Sky Play Centre, Storeys Haberdashery, Krystle’s Mobile Hair, The Toy Trader, Babee Boutique, March Physiotherapy Clinic and Solos Hair And Beauty.
All of the people who are having a table on the day of our party have also been so kind as to donate a prize for our raffle. I do hope that I have not forgotten anyone.
I want to thank all my friends who have to read all the excited texts I send to them going on about all my plans and to them for selling tickets and supporting me and for coming along on the day to have fun.
On the day of our party there will be a lot of fun things for all the kiddies and us grownups to do. These include the following: Pottery by Original Ceramics, Pheonix Cards, Once Upon A Cake, The British Red Cross, Pampered Chef, Jewellery By Maureen, The Party People, Candy Carriage, Solos Hair And Beauty, Crafty Sew And So, Flower arranging and Louise Walker Baby Items.
And of course we all like ice cream so don’t forget the ice cream van will be there at the end and we have our raffle.
There are two other special people I need to thank and they are my hubby and my little boy. Mark for all the nights of ticket stapling, table planning and listening to me waffle on about my day of party planning I want to thank you.
And Harry, mummy is sorry for all the days she said “only five more minutes and we will be off to our swimming lesson, play date or bike ride” and yet 10 minutes later we were still delivering tickets, posters and talking to people up town or on the phone.
If you were ever poorly and in need of the hospital’s services I would want another little bo’ys mummy to be running around her town to help raise money for the hospital that was treating you.
I really hope I have not forgotten anyone or anything. I want to thank everyone for helping to make our fundraising party the great fun day I know it will be. After all the word fundraising does start with the word FUN.
I am a mum and I hope I never have to experience first-hand how amazing the staff and services at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital are but I know that many mummies and daddies have sick children who go there and I am sure that any money we can raise for the good work they carry out there will help.