Sunday, 11 December 2011

99th Collection with the Mint Imperials at the Trafford Centre, for Dreamflight on Sat, 10th December, 2011.

The 99th has a tradition of collecting for charity at the Trafford Centre, Manchester in December and this year was no different.  With the support of our good friends the Mint Imperials we collected for Dreamflight.
We had to be at the Trafford Centre for 8:30 so left base at about 07:40am to pick up the Craigster from his mum's and then went straight to the venue arriving just before Ian and Nigel who had driven down that morning from Newcastle to troop as Darth Rethan and the Emperor!  Fortunately, we had had a bit of snow the night before but nothing worse!
I had intended to do Memah for this event but I started with a cold on the Thursday before and with my nose running like it was there was no way I could paint my face blue and have stayed blue for long!!
I took my officer's uniform and scout armour with me and decided that I would see how I felt when actually at the venue before deciding what costume to wear.  As it turned out, I was able to wear the scout armour all day only occasionally coughing and spluttering inside my helmet... not nice!!  Yes... that's me in the Christmas hat!
We were in our usual spot by the band stand in the food court/orient area of the centre from about 10:00am until 4:00pm and it was a long, hot day! and we were based in the presentation theater in the management suite.  We were fairly busy most of the time and the collection pots were heavy!  We were joined not only by the Mint Imperials but also by some of my friends and colleagues from Dreamflight who came along to support us and help persuade people to donate... A huge thanks to Nigel, Jo, Kev, Heather, Maia and Jean and also to Connor and his mum and sister....Connor went on the trip with the Dolphin group in 2009.
As usual with the December Trafford Centre troop we went out for a meal after the event.  This year there was only me, Jim, Craig and Ian.  Ian had arranged to stay at Craig's flat in Manchester for the night so after a quick break and shower to freshen up we met up back at the Trafford Centre at about 7:00pm and hit the Kro bar for a swift one before perusing all the many varied restaurants there and deciding on a meal at the TGI Fridays! and very nice it was too and very filling!!!  The staff at TGIs are very entertaining and energetic and part way through the night one of the waiters slid down the bannister very smoothly and calmly!! The others missed it though and I don't think they quite believed me thinking I'd had to much liquid refreshment and he didn't do it again!
Saturday night/Sunday morning was not a good one for me as I seemed to spend most of the night suffering from my cold... every time I lay down I'd start coughing....but Sunday morning it was up, full English breakfast and then back to the Trafford Centre for Christmas shopping!  Not an entirely successful day as I wasn't able to get hold of a couple of items that I wanted so I may now have to resort to Ebay for them and hope they arrive in time for Christmas Day.
We got back to base at about 3:15 pm but not before bumping into Maia again in the Trafford Centre ladies toilets.... then it was a quick tea and settle down to count the monies and I'm very pleased to report that we collected £673.61!!
A huge thank you to Craig, Jim, Steve, Heidi, Ken, David, Nigel, Ian, Paul, Rhys, Stacey, Richard, Phil, Andy and my fellow Dreamflighters for helping us to have such a successful day!  An extra special mention to Rhys for his debut as a Jawa.... awesome work including at one point Craig, dressed in his Sandtrooper armour chasing him around the band stand with Nigel in tow trying to catch it on video as well, with Nigel having to tell him to run slower...

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The 99th shall go the Ball!! Charity Dinner for the Christie Cancer Trust in memory of Matty Newall

The 99th Garrison and its good friends, the Mint Imperials was invited to the Matty Newall Ball by its organiser Shelly on Saturday, 3rd December, 2011. The venue was The Pavilion Bar at Chester Racecourse and the Ball was in aid of the Christie Cancer Trust. and a very posh affair it was too!..  This was the fourth such annual ball and so far, over £140,000 has been raised in his memory and put to good use by The Christie.
We needed to be ready, in costume to greet guests as they arrived by 7:00pm and seeing as how I was going to do Memah at this event and did not fancy rushing to get ready, we left base early at about 3:00pm and called for the Craigster before heading off to Chester and arriving there at about 5:15pm only to find that we weren't the first there anyway!  Neil from the Mints who does Darth Vader [and really is 7ft tall!] and their R2D2 and operator - Paul had already got there.
We were given the jockeys' changing room to get changed in and use as our base and it of course included a set of weighing scales that the jockies use before races. Well, we all had to have a go and to my surprise  I was heavier than I normally am at 8 stone and 9 lbs. That's quite good for me as I can sometimes struggle to keep weight on!  Although I did weigh myself again before we left and I had lost 2 lbs!!!  Its also amazing to realise how vain Stomtroopers can be!  At one time there were five of them in the gents all checking their appearance and asking "does my bum look big in this"  Sadly, for Simon, I had my camera out when he was in there on his own!
Anyway, I had taken my mini compressor with me and airbrush and instead of mixing the face paint with water and applying it with a sponge, I was airbrushed... an odd sensation! Although it is quicker than using a sponge, it is a different kind of paint and I'm not entirely happy at the way that it dries.... it looks.. and I know this will sound odd.... very dry!! and shows off all the facial hair!!!!  It also rubs off quickly when applying the make up on top if it.
Anyway, once we were all ready, we had to be outside to greet the guests... most of us went outside and formed a guard of honor but I'm afraid it was too cold for me... I would have actually turned blue and not needed the blue paint if I had gone outside.
We then milled around with the guests and posed for photos and two of our stormtroopers were asked to help with selling the raffle tickets but after the pre-dinner speeches, when the guests sat down for their dinner we went for a break... by which point it was most welcome as my headdress was getting quite uncomfortable.
After dinner it was back out with the guests to help out with the auction.  This involved standing on the stage with the host and helping to "present" the items to be bid upon.  One of the items was a Star Wars package which included a very large board of Darth Vader, some toys and the services of the 99th at an event of your choice.  I was intrigued as to how much this would go for and it ended up in a bit of a bidding battle between two ladies who wanted us at parties for their sons.  One lady was prepared to pay £300 for her son's 5th Birthday party but another lady put her bid in for £450 but then said that if the first lady would pay £100 to Christies that night then ten children of her choice could attend her son's party!  Anyway, this is how it was finalised and so the 99th went for £550!!! ... I think it was the highest bid item on the night!  Details of when and where are yet to be discussed and finalised.  
Also, one of the members of the 99th [Rob] had donated a spare Stormtrooper helmet to the auction... like you do!  and that raised £250.. so on the night, the total raised by us and the Mint Imperials was £800!!
The grand total raised so far on the night is believed to be about £19,000.  I'll add more details to this if I find out.

After the auction we then de-kitted and some of us stayed and had a wee drink before setting off again, arriving back at base, extremely tired at about 2:00am!
A huge thank you to Jim, Paul, Craig, Simon, Mike, Chris, and from the Mints .... Phil, Neil, Paul, Dave, Ken, Richard, Stacey and Nick.