The 99th Garrison regulary collects at various That's Entertainment stores throughout the UK for charity - usually Dreamflight and this time around the location was Blackburn. See www.dreamflight.org
I managed to get off my parking spot but that was it. I then had about 50 yards to go to get off my street onto the main road and had to basically dig myself out of the street. Finally, getting off the street [narrowly missing slipping into parked cars] at about 7:30am.
Sat-nav then wanted to take me via nice scenic routes cross country to Blackburn but I figured that so early in the morning and before a predicted thaw had kicked in, that probably wasn't such a good idea. I asked it calculate an alternative route and ended up going the long way around via the A38 and A50 onto the M6 and then the M65. I finally got to the destination at about 10:25am.
Already there was Wayne with Vicki, Gary, Chris and James and we were shortly joined by Ken, Jim and Craig. We were late getting out into the shop/mall but we got out there in the end and we were well received. It was Scout for me today. It was also good to see Paul again when he joined us after being at work in the morning and to see his Tusken Raider.
It was a fairly busy day with lots of photos taken and excellent crew support from our fairly new members Chris, Vicki and Gary. They are such good crew that we don't really want them to buy costumes! ... only joking!!! This photo is of Vicki helping Wayne to put on his Snow Trooper costume. It can be tricky business you know!
I had one lady talking to me about the weather and when we were next acting. I explained that this was our hobby etc and that we were not actually actors. She came back to talk to me later and went onto to tell me about her appointment the following week with her GP on a very private matter. .. Its amazing what people will tell you when you're in your armour!!
The issue of "Gangum Style" came up again on this troop. Staff in a cafe in the mall asked if we would all do the "dance" so they could film it. I said that they would so long as they made a donation to Dreamflight. They offered £2.00..... I said that that wasn't enough to persuade the troopers to do the dance [again!] and sadly, they said that they had no money left. Oh well... narrow escape but we would have done it £20.00!! It was also nice to see Paul [a member of the 99th] who came to visit us with his young daughter Kaitlyn.On the way back out after lunch we were stopped by a young man who asked us if we minded him asking a few questions about our work and charity collections. Apparently this was for his degree at university. We agreed and I was to be the spokesperson before I then realised that he meant that he intended to film the mini interview. So there I am in my armour and balaclava with no helmet [very fetching] talking to a complete stranger on camera about the 99th's collections for Dreamflight. Hope its of use to him in getting his degree!
We de-kitted at about 4:15pm and then it was time for the journey home which took two and a half hours this time and was thankfully less snowy!!
The collection pots/buckets were reasonably heavy albeit not up to Trafford Centre levels but we collected £247.30...... not bad really given the weather!
Huge thanks to Wayne, Craig, Ken, Jim, Paul, James, Alan and to our excellent crew Vicki, Chris and Gary. And huge thanks to to Rachel - the manager of the That's Entertainment Store for inviting us.