Sunday, 27 January 2013

The 99th Garrison collects for Dreamflight at That's Entertainment - 26th January, 2013

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

The weather played a huge part in this event as many of our members from the North East were due to attend - some of them were even coming down in a mini bus.  However, sadly we had a large deposit of fresh snow on Friday night/Saturday morning which meant that they could not make it.  It was touch and go whether I would actually make it too.  I set my alarm for 5:00am and got up and opened the curtains and groaned loudly when I saw all the nice new  snow.  I got dressed and went out and spent about half an hour removing the snow from on the car and around it and then went back into the house thinking that my neighbours must think that I'm potty.  I then spent about an hour deliberating whether to set off or not and decided that I would have a go.

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!!
Sorry about the eyes being shut Gary!!
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.
Rachel from That's Entertainment mentioned that when we all walk around with our suitcases we look like a sketch they use to use on the Fast Show where there would be a family running through an airport with their luggage... she has a point!  lol

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The 99th Garrison at the Chester Music Hall for Will's 8th Birthday Party in aid of Dreamflight.

You may remember from one of my previous posts that the 99th attended a Ball at Chester Race Course in aid of Christies Cancer Trust and that at the Ball there was an auction which included the opportunity to bid for the 99th's services.  The lady who won that auction wanted us to attend her son's [Will] eighth birthday party which was in November, 2012.  Sadly the 99th was already busy with other pre-booked events in November so we weren't able to attend his party that month but what we did do was to have Will attend our troop at the Trafford Centre Christmas Lights Switch on and we made him an honorary member of the 99th with the intention that Will would have another Birthday early in 2013 where the 99th would be able to attend.  Well, that was last night, at the Chester Music Hall.

We were to be in costume for 6:00pm.  I was undecided about whether to do Memah Roothes or Biker Scout.  Will, and his sister Daisy had seen me as Memah Roothes at the Trafford Centre troop and I didn't want to disappoint them if they were expecting to see her again.  So, I loaded the car with both costumes and set off just after 2:00pm arriving at the venue about 4:15pm.  I was so early though that it was still locked but I didn't have wait too long before Will's mum arrived, then the buffet food and then the lady to open the venue!  I spoke to Will's mum about which costume Will would like me to wear and she confirmed my suspicion that it should be Memah.

I then got changed into Memah and was ready in time. On Daisy's insistence, she and her mum came to visit me as I was getting ready as she was so excited.  We were joined at this event by Chris, Wayne, Gary, Alan, Paul, Mel, Jim, Simo, Mike and Vicki.   It was the first troop with the 99th for Chris and Vicki and it was lovely to meet them.  Vicki and Gary made excellent crew. 

Now this event was a childrens birthday party and that meant about 30 very excitable children, all in fancy dress [including alot in Star Wars costumes] who couldn't wait to see us.  Paul had agreed that we would do the "Star Wars experience" show for them and this went down a treat.

We came out to the see the children first of all about 6:00pm and stayed out for about 15 mins for photos and general mingling before going for a short break. We were then back out for a Q&A session which turned into the children asking us to do various things which included stromtroopers singing, doing the splits and waltzing to romantic music and of course, we were asked to do Gangum Style! Hilarious!!!

We then had a by now much needed break again, before going back to allow the children to show us their light sabre skills and to show how a Stromtrooper is dressed which included putting Will in some armour and helmet, back to front of course, very simple but very funny!   They could also have face paintings done by Mel. The children loved it.  Paul then dressed one of the children as a Jawa as well. -- again simple but they loved it.  The children then had a chance to all wear a Stromtrooper helmet and have their photo taken.
This took us to 8:00pm at which time it was time to de-kit and head off home on my two hour drive.

Huge thanks to Chris, Wayne, Gary, Alan, Paul, Mel, Jim, Simo and Vicki.  An excellent first event for me with the 99th for 2013..... oh.... and a donation of £500 will be made to Dreamflight by Will's parents... a ginormous loving Thank you to them!!