Sunday, 30 October 2011

99th gets invited by the Trafford Centre to take part in Christmas Lights Switch on and collects for the Walking With Giants Foundation and also the Buxton Toy Fayre for Dreamflight

The 99th Garrison was asked by management at the Trafford Centre to help out with their celebrations for their Christmas lights switch on on Thursday, 27th October, 2011.  This was quite a coup for us to be asked by them and shows that we have been liked by them when we have collected there before in December, 2009 and December 2010 for the Christie Cancer Trust.

We obviously accepted and went about ensuring that we had a good turn out for the event which again included our good friends... the Mint Imperials, including a 7 foot Lord Vader!
We took the opportunity to collect for the Walking with Giants Foundation again and Sue, John and Alex Connerty came along with other collectors from the WWG to help out and Finn came along too with Mel and Paul.. Finn suitably dressed as a young jedi. See\

With the event being on a Thursday and that being a work day I had to leave work at about 2:00pm and then do a two hour drive to the Trafford Centre, arriving there last!  I was doing Memah for this event so had to go straight to the ladies to start getting changed and go blue! I'm getting quicker at doing this and can now get ready in about an hour but it feels so rushed... ideally I would have more time to get the make up right and not get so flustered!  I did surprise a few members of the Trafford Centre staff though who came in to find a partially blue painted lady in their loos!
The nights entertainment took place on the main stage in the Orient part of the Trafford Centre as seen in "How to Look Good Naked" and was hosted by DJs from Key 103, and included, Alvin and the Chip Monks, Tracey Barlow and Amber Kalirai from Coronation Street, Stars from the new musical version of Dirty Dancing, The Reason 4 and.......  Steps!!!  I had actually gone for a short break just at the point when Steps were leaving their changing room and H from Steps was well impressed at my costume... sadly though I had taken my lekku/headdress off as I needed a break from its tight grip around my head and he asked me to go and put it on so he could see the complete outfit but then got dragged away by the PR people to go and do something else.  Faye from Steps thought that I was the singer from the film The Fifth Element!  Lol!
Anyway, the event was very, very well attended and although we weren't on the stage with the Stars we were the Stars of the Orient's Bandstand for the night and we were kept very, very busy and boy, was it hot!!!  The total raised on the night was an awesome £951.16!!!!

A huge thank you to:
Paul - Royal Guard, Jim - Stormtrooper, Craig - Sandtrooper, Chris - Scout Trooper, David - Scout trooper, Paul - Snowtrooper, Paul - Lord Vader, Tony - R2D2, Phil - Boba Fett, Stacey - Scout Trooper, Rich - Stormtrooper, Ken - Sandtrooper and Dave - Tie Pilot ... apoligies if I've missed anyone off!  and also huge thanks to the Trafford Centre [especially Alison Reid], and to Mel and Finn and to Sue, Alex and John Connerty and all the WWG helpers... and Paul for crewing and taking photos for me. 
Then.... on Sunday 30th October, the 99th was asked to help out at the Buxton Toy Fayre at the Palace Hotel in Buxton.... this being only a ten minute drive from base is a first for us!  The event came in with only about 2 weeks notice and with everything else that has been happening in terms of events we were only able to manage three troopers; that being me, Jim and Paul and Rhys - Paul's son -  as crew.... seen here having a break!  
As it turned out, it was just as well that we only had three troopers and we all lived fairly local to the event venue as it was very, very, very quiet and poorly attended.  We collected for Dreamflight at this event and I think that we will be lucky to have collected £5.00!!!  However, there had been another event on Saturday, 29th in Gateshead which I did not attend [hence no blog from me] but where we did collect for Dreamflight and in total, including the money from Buxton Toy Fayre, we had £86.89 in the collection buckets.
All in all, a very busy few days and more of the same to come over the next few weeks and during the run up to Christmas.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

99th Collection with the Mint Imperials at The Entertainer Toy Store, Wexham - Sat, 22nd October, 2011

The 99th was asked to help out with a collection for The Walking With Giants Foundation [WWG] at the Entertainer Toy Store, in Wrexham and our good friends the Mint Imperials came along too.
We were not needed until 11:00am so it was a later than normal start, with us leaving the house with the Craigster at about 8:30am for the drive to Wrexham.  Once there we met up with Simon [who, of course was already there he always is!] and Paul.
We had the staff room and Santa's store room above the toy shop for our base for the day and took the opportunity to have a look around at some of the toys.. me and Craig had a mad ten minutes or so at lunch time playing with the hand puppets and releasing the child within... was good fun!
We were well received outside the shop on what was a sunny but cold day with a very cold, chilling wind that cut through you and collected £345.10  for the WWG.. We were joined by Sue and John Connerty and their son Alex who was born with Promordial Dwarfism.  Alex had a great day interacting with us and was a joy to see as only in August, he was too afraid to look at us at the event we did at Spaceport on the Wirral.
Stacey, Phil and Richard from the Mint Imperials joined us mid morning... they had got changed in the multi storey car park near by and walked over to the store....I should imagine that must have been quite strange to see in the car park! For a change it meant another female Scout Trooper and a Boba Fett as well as another Stormtrooper.
Things got really quiet in the afternoon with not many people about so we called it a day at about 4:00pm and headed back home... sadly with the logisitics of the car parking and who was going where and in what car... we didn't get our traditional post troop photo!  But a huge thanks to Paul, Jim, Craig, Simon, Stacey, Richard, Phil and John, Sue and Alex Connerty.  Oh... and just to prove how tiring all this trooping can be for a youngster!

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!