Sunday, 11 November 2012

The 99th supports Help For Heroes at Meadowhall - Saturday, 10th November, 2012

The 99th was asked to support the annual collection for Help For Heroes at Meadowhall in Sheffield. This must be the third  time that we have done so... I lose track!! 

We were due to be out in costume from about 10:30 until 4:00 pm. On this trip I agreed to give a lift to Darran who was to be Lord Vader for the day so picked him up and then headed off to Sheffield getting there for about 9:15.

On arrival at Meadowhall we headed for the Management Suite where we were to have our changing room\base for the day.  The rest of the crew were already there, including Kevin from Help for Heroes, Craig, Jim, Wayne, and two new troopers, Dave and Alan.  Its always good to meet new troopers and help them on their inaugural troop!!   ....   Listening to them describe how they are actually smiling for photos behind their helmets!! Alan did an excellent job too on his troop as photographer and crew. ... Thank you!
We were only able to do a maximum of an hour at a time before we had to take a break to cool off.  When we were trooping and not cooling off we were in constant demand and I know from my time spent stood with Lord Vader [with collection bucket] it was a non stop stream of people wanting their photos with us. They were basically queuing and waiting for their turn and included the usual children who were really keen, those who were not too sure and those who positively did not want their photo taken through total fear but mum and dad insisted!!

We had a break for lunch and when we got back, one of the Help For Heroes volunteers told me that the guys and gals from TGI Fridays had been down to see us and on finding that we weren't there had asked that we go to their place to see them.  We dutifully obliged and went off to TGI's where we cajoled some money out of their guests and staff and I was asked [as the only Biker Scout there on the day] to sit on their Harley Davidson for photos... which of course.... if did!

We finished trooping at about 4:15 when we really were fit to drop and then di-kitted before going back to TGI's for a post troop and much needed drink and then heading off home.... but not before Kevin told us that the 99th had collected £563.61 on the day.. WOW!!!! thank you!!!!

A huge thanks to Craig, Jim, Darran, Wayne, Dave and Alan and to Kevin for inviting us... see you next year!!!!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The 99th Garrison supports the Poppy Appeal.
The 99th Garrison was asked to support the British Legion Poppy Appeal at the Westfield Centre, Derby on Saturday, 3rd Nvember, 2012. This is an event which we have done for the Legion now for about 3 years and is always a good one.

We had to be in armour for 10:30 but having got there in plenty of time, for one reason and another we were a little bit late in going out to our spot by the Legion's stand and didn't get there until nearly 11:00.  I couldn't believe that Vader had his helmet polished by Paul with a pink cloth!!  Very unimperial!!

This wasn't too bad though as the centre had started to get busy and there were more people around.  

We were very popular all day and our collection pots were very heavy.  The money in them has now been counted and has come out at £368.10!!!  Thanks to all who were involved and donated. 

We were fortunate to have Lord Vader with us and he was very, very popular with never a second to spare!  We also had the Craigster, Ken, Jim, Paul and Rhys.

It was interesting talking to the volunteers on the Legion's stand as is always the same people every year and up until this event, they thought that we were a commercial enterprise and got paid for what we did.  If only!!

At one point the Craigster was talking to a Polish gentleman who told us that he was 92!  He had numerous stories to tell us about his time in second world war and was such a gent and a character. He could have kept us talking all day but other people were wanting our attention to so we had to say good bye.. but only after he told us that he could't chase the ladies anymore because of his bad leg!

I did Scout in the morning and after lunch as I could see that it was getting busy I decided to do Crew in my Imperial Officer.  I'm glad I did as it did get busier and we really needed eyes in the back of our heads!

We finished trooping at about 4:15pm and then de-kitted and had a quick non alcoholic drink in TGI Friday.  There were a couple of ladies sat near to us who as we were leaving asked what the 99th Garrison was as they had seen this on the back of our fleeces.  When it was explained what we do, that we do it for charities and mainly for Dreamflight and explained what that was, one of them produced a £20.00 note as a donation!  Wow!!!  Her friend also insisted on kissing Vader's helmet!

A very enjoyable and busy troop... it was nice to crew for a change too!

A huge thanks to Craig, Ken, Jim, Darran, Paul and Rhys.

Friday, 2 November 2012

The 99th [duly supported by our good friends The Mint Imperials] was asked by the Trafford Centre management team to attend their Christmas lights switch on on Thursday 1st November, 2012.

This was an evening event which meant leaving work at 2:30pm. I was hoping to arrive at the venue for about 4:30 and have time for something to eat before getting ready to do Memah.  Unfortunately, the traffic was horrendous and I finally got there at about 5:10pm and had to be ready in costume for 6:30pm so it was straight to the changing rooms [staff ladies loo/changing room!] to start getting ready.

I was ready for about 6:20pm and went and joined Ken, Paul, Jim and Wayne from the 99th together with Stacey, Phil, Richard, Ken, Phil, Jacob and Neil from the Mint Imperials.  We were also joined by a little boy called Will [and his mum, dad and sister] who, as a birthday treat, was to troop with us that night.  I was asked to lead the parade out with Will and then look after him during the troop and it was an absolute pleasure.  He told me part way through the night that it was his best birthday ever!! Awwwww!!

I had both extremes of the Star Wars knowledge base at the event as I had one lady who thought that I was a smurf [Tut!] and one young man who knew who I was and knew more about my character’s life story than I did!!  There was also much talk about the acquisition of Star Wars by Disney.  The majority of us are withholding judgement but 2015 could be a busy year for the 99th and other Star Wars costuming groups with the launch of Episode VII.

We trooped in our usual spot at the Trafford Centre [by the band stand in the Orient] and on this occasion we were collecting for the Walking With Giants Foundation and were joined by Sue, John, Alex and their supporters. See  A brilliant £632 was raised in just two hours! 

The main Christmas lights switch on was done by McFly and there were other celebrities there too. I saw Clare Sweeny in the ladies although I couldn’t put a name to her face at first I just knew that I knew her from something on TV!  The screaming from McFly’s fans when they appeared on the main stage was deafening.  I didn't chance to take many photos so they are bit scarce on this post.

We finished the troop by 8:30pm and then it was time to “de-blue” myself as much as possible before making the long journey home, getting back at about 11:10pm and feeling suitably hungry and tired!!  Fortunately, there was some fruit loaf in the house which I had toasted with a glass of milk before going to bed.

A huge thanks to Ken, Paul, Jim and Wayne [Wayne's first troop with the 99th] and Stacey,  Richard, Jacob, Phill Ken and Neil from the Mint Imperials for attending this event and making it so enjoyable!

Looking forward to going back to the Trafford Centre on the 8th December, to collect for Dreamflight. See