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!!!