Sunday, 19 May 2013

99th Garrison collects for Dreamflight at the Urban Exchange Retail Park, M/cr on Saturday 18th May, 2013

The 99th Garrison [supported by our good friends The Mint Imperials] was asked to help promote the Urban Exchange Retail Park, Great Ancoates Street, Manchester and in return we were allowed to collect for Dreamflight. If you follow my blog you should know all about Dreamflight by now and if you don't... well shame on you!

The event had been promoted by the event organisers [Don't Panic  as "Lost in Space" and although I'm shown as Memah Roothes on the poster I wasn't able to wear her costume as I wouldn't have coped with her heels all day yet! I'm gradually building up wearing heels an hour or so at a time!

On this troop I was giving a lift to Dave to the event from Sheffield as he can't drive at the moment due to having a poorly foot [I've told him he's only trying to compete with me!] so that meant leaving home at 7:00am to go and pick him up and then a drive to M\cr over the hills and through the thick mist, where we arrived at about 9:10am after having some debate about whether we were actually meant to be there for 8:00am.  Fortunately, we weren't!

Stu in action when he de-kitted in the afternoon taking one of his now famous photos from the floor looking up at us!
The Urban Exchange centre consists of a M&S retail outlet store, a Go Outdoors, an Aldi and a Gym called PureGym. We were given changing rooms for the day in M&S and Go Outdoors and I was based in the M&S one for the day where I have to say that the staff were ever so friendly. 
The gym was also taking the opportunity to promote itself and that included having one of their staff in a green morph suit!
We had a table in Go Out doors where we could sell a few badges and postcards etc but we were given free range of the centre including the main road.  Dave wasn't able to troop because of his foot so he manned the table all day but did have his face painted as Darth Maul by the childrens face painter who was there for the day with her making the remark that she had a large canvas to work on!  And I had to drive him back home looking like that but he didn't get many strange looks off people, it was as if it was a perfectly normal sight to see people going about their business painted as Darth Maul in M/cr.
It was fairly steady but I wouldn't say that we were busy but we shall see what the collection pots hold. I'll let you know as soon as I can.
There was about twenty of us at this event and I'm sorry if I miss any names off at the end but I will try and remember you all.  It was great to see Stu and his son James again with Liz. I'd not seen them for about two and a half years and I was worried that in that time James may have forgotten me and be all grown up now [at ten] and not want hugs and cuddles anymore - but I needn't have worried - he wanted several throughout the day, including one where he had had his face painted as Darth Maul as well and got red and black paint all over my Scout armour.
Was also good to see the familiar faces of regular troopers and some new ones too ... Darren, John, Sarah and Dave. 
The Face painter also seemed to be doing faces as Memah!
We even had a photographer there from Geek Pride from whom some of the photos on this post have been provided... Thank you!!!
We trooped all day in the various stores and the Gym which included photos of me on push bikes and a Spinning bike. 

We also were photographed in tents, camping chairs, in camouflage jackets with a fishing rod and with hats on... mine had to be pink of course!  

There was also a rather good set of stairs in the gym with some good lighting from where we got several good photos. Here is just one with our scariest new member [Sarah] at the front... an excellent costume and addition to the 99th!

We de-kitted at about 4:0pm and then it was a drive over the hills again [still misty] to take Dave home before getting back home at about 8:10pm.
A huge thanks to Paul, Mel, Stu, James, Liz, Jim, Dave P, Alan, Gary, John, Chris, Darren, Dave A, Vicky, Wayne, Ken, Sarah and to Richard, Neil and Stacey and the rest of the Mints... including R2D2.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The 99th Garrison collects for the MS Society - Saturday, 11th May, 2013

The 99th Garrison often supports the Wirral Branch of the MS Society but on this occasion we were asked to support the Liverpool branch of the MS at the Clayton Square Shopping Centre in Liverpool.
We were due to be in costume from 10:30am and this meant an early departure from home for me of 7:00am and an arrival at the venue of 9:20am.  This was my first troop after my operation to my right foot so it felt a little strange making sure that everything was packed, charged and in working order on the Friday night and getting up so early on a Saturday!

On arrival at the venue we were given a empty shop which used to be a "Game" store as our base for the day which was huge with lots of space to get changed in.  There was me, Craig, Grant, Jim, Colin, Eric, Dave, Alan, Gary, Wayne and Chris, so a really good turn out. 
Even though I'm an old timer when it comes to trooping it did feel a little strange being back in with the others, almost like being a newbie again but we got ready which involved Dave helping me to get my boot on my right foot with a lot of huffing and puffing and a bit of pain [on my part!].  We eventually managed it but we both built up a sweat in the process.  Once the boot was on it was fine though and didn't cause a great deal of pain.  Needless to say, I was soon back into the swing of trooping and it was nice to meet Colin's youngest daughter.
We had an area to "patrol" in the shopping centre near to the MS Table which had been set up for the day by David and we were fairly busy, although it was quiet some of the time at the table.  Some of our troopers went just outside of the centre though where they were quite busy all day with shoppers, passers by and a quite merry Hen Party.  There also seemed to a lot of excitable and frightened teenage girls who with lots of giggles and squeals would eventually have their photo taken or would be surprised by a trooper creeping up behind them, scream and then run away!
The MS society were really pleased and impressed with our help.  They have a day every month at the shopping centre and on average they usually collect about £250.  At the time of writing this post I do not know how much was raised with us being there but they said that they had never seen their table so busy and had never had so many heavy collection pots before.  They will let  me know how much has been raised asap.  

I can now confirm that a grand total of £763.05 was collected!!!   Thank you!!

One of the things that I always notice about any troops that we do in Liverpool [apart from Spaceport] is that you will always see young ladies out and about doing their shopping etc with all their make up on but also with curlers in their hair ready for a Saturday night out. I have never seen this anywhere else other than Liverpool and today was no exception and it always makes me smile.

As there were enough of us at this event we took lunch breaks in two shifts so that there were always troopers in the centre for the public.  Gary, Dave, Craig, Jim and Wayne were also due to finish at 3:00pm as they had to leave to get to Old Trafford for a charity dinner there organised by Mark Busby for a little boy who has neuroblastoma. [As it turns out this was the night before a very sad day for MUFC due to the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson]  So they took the early lunch break at 12 whilst the rest of us had lunch at about 1:00pm.  Dave who is a Liverpool fan and was due to go to Old Trafford insisted that he take a photo of me with a Liverpool FC scarf on.

When it actually got to 3:0pm, I decided to call it a day anyway.  I had found the day particularly tiring and had forgotten how tired you do get on a troop and how much your back [and now one's foot!] can ache.  So we all de-kitted at 3:00pm and posed for the now obligatory post troop photo out of costume. 
Some of us then went home whilst the others went to Old Trafford where they met up with Steve, Heidi, Dave and John [and R2D2] where I'm sure that they had a blast mixing with and terrorising celebrities like Yvette Fielding.  I finally got home at about 6:45pm.

A huge thanks to Colin, Eric, Grant, Craig, Jim, Wayne, Chris, Gary, Alan and Dave.  Was a good day and great to back in the team. Excellent support from Craig, Dave and Eric as crew/photographers! Also thanks go to David Higham of the MS Society and his volunteers [two of which dressed up Princess Leia and Darth Maul] and to Kevin and the security team of the Clayton Square Shopping Centre.