Sunday, 26 June 2011

Fund raising day for Derian House Childrens Hospice at Colne Cricket Club - 260611

As a result of being seen at the Derian House Summer Gala on the 13th June, the 99th was asked to attend a fundraising event for Derian House at Colne Cricket Club by the mother of a little girl who is due to visit Derian in July.

We were kept as a surprise for nearly all the guests and arrived at the cricket club at about 1:00pm with Craig, having collected him en route and then proceeded to put up the back drop. ... note to self... we really do need to invest in a new one!
We were joined by Paul on his first troop with the 99th who did an excellent job of crewing for us on the day and taking plenty of photos. Paul had joined the 99th after seeing us at the Star Wars Family Fun day at Turf Moor, Burnley FC.   Thanks Paul!!  He is the father of the little girl that wanted me to pick her up at that event when I was Memah and all blue but would not be picked up by me in my officers uniform a couple of weeks later cos that was too scary! 
The event started at about 1:00pm and we made our surprise entrance to the DJ playing the Imperial March at about 2:00pm.  We stood by the backdrop and didn't move for about 30 minutes whilst we were swamped by all the children at the event wanting their photos with us.  Trouble was though, that this was the hottest day of the year so far and boy was it hot!!! 

After 30 mins we desperately needed a break and went outside for a few minutes to the surprise of the punters who had turned up to the watch the cricket match that was going on.  All typically British!

We then went back into the function room and after a short break with the helmets off out of public view we returned and were roped into dancing with some of the teenyboppers!  Not strictly in character but hey!  They insisted and the DJ loved it saying that it was the funniest thing that he had ever seen!  This however, only made us even hotter and stickier and so we called it a day not long after that - we had only been asked to be around for about an hour anyway. 
We then stopped off at a local hostillery for a carvery tea.. all you can get on your plate for £6.00!! Lovely and got me out of cooking!

A huge thanks to Ken, Paul, Jim and Craig for attending this small but perfectly formed event!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

99th goes to the Ball! 18th June 2011

Dreamflight is a national charity that takes 192 seriously ill children on the holiday of a lifetime to Florida every October.  It is made up of 12 groups from across the UK of 16 children.  The group for the North East is called the Tigger Group and the Group that I am a member of which covers Yorkshire and Derbyshire is called the Dolphin Group.

OK, its not strictly speaking a fund raising event attended by the 99th in Star Wars costumes but me, Jim, Ian and Marie attended the annual Tigger Group Fundraising ball for Dreamflight at the Gosforth Marriott Hotel, Newcastle.  We were also joined by Tim [from work] and his wife, Gail, and Nigel [Dolphin Dreamflight group Doctor], Katie from the Dolphin Group and Rob, Mike and Sharon.

The Ball had originally been marketed by Dreamflight Tigger Group as a Moulin Rouge themed event but apparently they received a "cease and desist" letter from the owners of Moulin Rouge.  Bit ridiculous really when it was an event for a charity but there you go! So, it was then re-branded as a "can can" themed ball and me, Marie and Gail were dressed accordingly, although, there weren't many guests who were... but as members of the 99th at least me and Marie are used to being dressed differently to everyone else in the room!
We had driven up to Washington, Newcastle on Friday night and arrived there just after 10:00pm.  We were staying at Marie's for the weekend as we had an event to go to on the Saturday [day time] at the Springwell Community Centre.  See Marie's blog on this event at

We finished the event at about 3:00pm and then were back at Marie's for about 4:00ish.  We then quickly got ready for the ball which was due to start at 6:30pm.  We were late though and arrived just in time to be given a bucks fizz in the reception room before an announcement that guests should take their seats for dinner!  

It was great to meet Gail properly for the first time, to get the chance to socialise with Ian and Marie instead of just trooping with them and to see my old Dreamflight friends.  Katie sat next to me at the table and it was good to catch up with each other and and also to talk about an event that Katie is organising at the Arena Shopping Centre, Coventry on the 17th September, which she has asked the 99th to attend and help with fundraising for Dreamflight. 

At the event we had been to during the day at The Springwell Community Centre we had been given a donation towards our charity, so we handed that over [£102] to James Hayden [Group Doctor for the Tigger Group]  Safe to say that it was very gratefully received!

The meal went very quickly and the drinks flowed and then it was time for the auction at which point Tim/Tom sprung into action and bid for and won a signed Manchester United shirt... well done Tim!  Gail also wanted to bid for a pair of VIP Take That tickets but  they went for a very high price indeed!

After dinner, it was time for the DISCO and for the casino to start.  To play at the Casino you had to buy US dollars.  These were then exchanged for chips at the table.  It turned out that our table had the best two gamblers at the event with Nigel and Tim coming first and second respectively in winning the most on the night!

After that we pretty much danced the night away until the early hours and then it was a taxi back to Marie's for us.  
All in all, a very good night out and one that raised approximately £23,000 for Dreamflight on the night.  

For more info on Dreamflight see I can particularly recommend the introductory 3 minute video for getting a realy flavour of what Dreamflight is all about and for pulling at the heart strings!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Derian House Childrens Hospice Summer Gala - 11th June 2011

The 99th Garrison made its annual visit to Derian House in Chorley to support their summer Gala for the Children's Hospice.  The weather forecast included showers so it was with some expectation of a cold and wet day that we made the trip to Chorley, picking the Craigster up en route.

The journey took the usual one and half hours [most troops for us take that long to get to] and on arrival we were shown to one of the rooms in the brand new part of the hospice that was to be our changing room for the day.  Very impressive but quite thought provoking as well.

The weather held out for the event all day and we did not see any real rain at all and it was quite pleasant most of the time.  We had had some troopers drop out of the event the night before and morning of the event so me and Craig took it in turn to crew in our officers' uniforms with Craig crewing in the morning and me after lunch.  

Even though we had been to Derian House Summer Gala before, this visit, to me, was the one where we were the most popular!  The organisers initially asked us to stand by the entrance to the event field, by the road outside in order to attract passing traffic and we were bibbed and waved at by nearly all the passing vehicles including police and wedding cars. Then, when we entered the main event field we were bombarded with people wanting their photos with us and the day went very quickly.  At times, it was impossible to move from one spot!

I even received a visit from the little girl at Burnley FC who had been very happy to be picked up by me and have her photo taken with me when I was Memah and all blue but was too frightened of me as a perfectly normal officer to have her photo taken with me.... which is a bit of a worry but the officers from the local fire brigade who attended the event with their engine were quite keen to discuss my uniform and handcuffs with me!  lol!!! and Craig got to sit in the driving seat!

We also had a visit from Jim and Craig's Fan Club ... Hannah and Amelia... they have been coming to the Gala for the past three years just to see them.  They bring them little presents each time.  This year was a little R2D2 unit and 2 Snicker bars!

When the time came to get changed and go home, we discovered that the route that we had used to get to our changing room had had various doors locked and at times I thought that I was going to have to call for help for us to get out but Disney Bouncy found the way!

Thanks to Jim, Craig, Ken and Simon for attending this event.  We may only have been 5 but we were the fabulous 5!!!