Monday, 29 July 2013

The 99th Garrison supports the Dravet Syndrome, at Sainsbury's in Ripley Derbyshire - Sunday, 28th July, 2013.
Dravet Syndrome is a little known syndrome which is a catastrophic neurological condition causing severe seizures alongside other conditions such as learning disability, ataxia and autism.  See  I first heard of it when the branch of Sainsbury's that I shop at on a regular basis in Ripley, had posters up about the charity as it was supporting it as its charity of the year.  I was curious at to what the syndrome was so checked out the website and then contacted them to see if the 99th could help with their fundraising efforts.  Apparently the email that I sent ended up in their office in the USA and was then forwarded to Rachel, who works at the branch of Sainsbury's and has a daughter who has the syndrome.  
The rest, as they say is history and after a few messages on FB and meeting up at Sainsbury's for a coffee and a chat it was agreed that the 99th would help the charity at its bag packing day on the 28th July.
This was a local troop for me [which I could get use to!] it took all of ten minutes to get there - instead of the usual average journey for a troop of an hour and a half.  We were at the venue for 9:00am to be ready in armour when the store opened at 10:00am.
My co-troopers and crew on this event were Andy, Jim, Mark, Will, Darran, G and Simon ... it was a pleasure to meet Simon on his first troop with the 99th!
We were ready early and left our base for the day [the store's training room] before 10 and were fairly busy all day.  We spent some time outside the store and also had permission to troop around the store as well, which was nice to do given that it has very efficient air conditioning and most of the troops that we have done recently have been very, very hot!  There were also a lot of photo opportunities in the store with all the different products for sale and getting around the isles took a very long time!
Rachel's daughter Jesse,joined us for part of the day too and it was nice to see her so at ease with us and relaxed.. just taking it all in her stride!  We were also joined by Rachel's son Tom who is in a band called the Parasights... they are only young [Tom is only twelve] and play rock and are very good! 
We had a very nice lunch provided by Rachel of sandwiches  chicken, crisps  and cake.  Tea and coffee was also provided by Sainsbury's. We then went back out trooping until a break for tea and biscuits at about 2:30pm and then it was back out trooping until 4:00pm.  We then de-kitted and had our usual post troop photo but not before the manager of the store came to see us and personally thanked us for the day saying what a vibe and difference to the store our presence had made.
I then made the very long [not!] journey home in ten minutes!!!  
The bag packers raised £493.83  on the day and the 99th rasied £352.13  A grand total of £845.96!!!!!!  THANK YOU EVERY ONE!! 
A huge thanks to Simon, Andy, Jim, Darran, Mark, William and G.

Monday, 15 July 2013

The 99th Garrison attends Anna and Dan's Wedding - The Threehorseshoes Inn and Hotel,Leek

The 99th Garrison was asked by Bride to be Anna, to surprise her husband to be at their wedding.  This was at the Three Horseshoes Inn and Hotel, Leek on Monday 15th July, 2013.
This being a Monday meant taking a day off work for me but as it was a fairly local venue and a wedding [which I do enjoy doing] I was glad to take the day off!
We were due to be at the venue for 09:30 to meet the bride and check out the venue for trip hazards etc.... Stormtroopers do have limited vision!  I actually got to the venue for about 09:00am but as the weather was glorious and still not too hot, I was more than happy to sit out in the sun and admire the view watching the local blue tits and a little rabbit!
I was soon by joined by Vicky, Jim, Andy, Alan, Gary and David and we set ourselves up in the Inn's meeting room [after the bride had had her hair done in there] which was to be our base for the day.
We were a total surprise for the groom and most of the guests so had travelled in our normal gear instead of our 99th crew tops which are usually essential wear for our troops.  We got ready as quietly as possible which is not always easy with troopers voiceboxes and speakers and static bursts.  We were asked to be just outside the room for the service for about 11:25am and then once all the guests were seated we made our entrance to the Imperial March.
The reaction to our entrance was amazing.. most people cheered and laughed and the groom was really, really shocked but also very, very happy.  He said that line that everyone uses to a stormtrooper who is smaller than normal ..... "aren't you a little short to be a stormtrooper! and for that he was cuffed!
We then de-cuffed him ready for the bride's entrance to the main Star Wars theme music and we stood behind the registrar's table, in front of all the guests and happy couple for the duration of the service.  Me in the middle as the officer for the day and three troopers either side.
After the service and signing the register, we then escorted the newly weds back down the isle before having a quick break and then joining the wedding party for their professional photos by Matt from Geek Pride. 

We finished our duties at about 1:45pm and then we were treated to a meal in the venue's restuarant.... a lovely beef roast dinner with all the trimmings!  Much needed and appreciated... Thank you very much!!
Anna and Dan also made a donation of £100 to Dreamflight.... Thank you very, very much!!!!

A huge thanks to Andy [his first troop with the 99th!], Alan, Jim, Gary, Dave and Vicky. Truly dedicated troopers!!  

The 99th Garrison attends the Doncaster Classic Car and Bike Show

The 99th Garrison was asked to attend the Doncaster Classic Car and Bike Show on Sunday, 14th July 2013.
How many Imperial Troopers does it take to arrest a Jedi?!!
This is an annual event where the Classic Car Club raises money for the Rotary Club of St Georges and various charities and we were allowed to collect for our favourite charity Dreamflight.

I was giving Darran a lift to and from this event so that he could do Lord Vader for us so I left home at about 7:45am and we got to the venue at about 9:10, pretty much in a convoy with others - apart from Scampi Trooper [aka Dave] who over took me on the motorway now Speedyscampi! and Trooper82 [aka Alan N] who sadly had a flat tyre on his journey so joined us a little later.

There was quite a few of us at this event and this blog is going to test my memory of names and I apolgise in advance if I have got any wrong or forgotten any [this is why a post troop photo out of armour comes in very handy!]  It was also great to meet Vicky and Alan G for the first time.

We were out in armour by about 10:30 ish and were out into the heat of the day!  It was very, very hot.  So hot that the event was very busy and popular with visitors as they decided to come out in the sun for the day but that we were only able to do about 30 minutes outside at a time before we then had to go and have a break and a drink of something cold [and non alcoholc] before we could go back out again.
You dancin?   You askin?? 
We also spent some time indoors in a room where there was entertainment and we even did some dancing!!

We were quite busy with posing for photos and mingling with the public and the exhibitors etc and we raised £125.00 for Dreamflight. Not as much as some of our other events but sadly, I think that it is a sign of the times!
More dancing!
We also had a near miss when Trooper 82/Alan N nearly did himself an injury when he walked into one of the many wooden posts which had been put into the field to denote the exhibitors' pitches.  After a flat tyre on his way in, it wasn't really his day!

We were due to troop until 3:00pm but by about 2:30 - and after our dancing session - most of us had melted so we decided to de-kit and have a cold drink [from the bar this time!] before a quick walk around the exhibits as ourselves and then setting off home.  I dropped Darren off at home before getting myself at about 6:00pm.
Photo taken for the local press
A huge thanks to Darran S, Alan N, Chris, Wayne and Sandra, Mark and Jo and family, Colin and Eric, Jim, Vicky, Darren W, Alan and Scampi/Dave. 

We've already been asked back to next year's event!!

Monday, 1 July 2013

99th Garrison attends Elstree Studios, London - 30th June, 2013.

The 99th Garrison was asked to attend Elstree Studios, in London... the home of Star Wars where the original [and best] trilogy was filmed. 

This was a short event for us and we did not need to be at the venue until 1:00pm and on arrival we were provided with sandwiches, crisps, cakes and drinks to keep us going until the guests arrived at 2:45pm.

It was a very, very warm day [for a change] and we were glad of the air conditioning in the large room which was our base for the day. 

The special guests were on a tour of locations used for filming in and around Elstree and were on an old red Routemaster double decker bus for the trip.

They duly arrived at about 2:45pm as planned and as we had been kept a secret from them they were somewhat surprised to find us waiting for them when they got back to the Studios.  There was lots of posing for photographs in the boiling sun and lots of "aren't you warm in there?!" comments.

We mingled with the guests for about twenty minutes or so and then, once they had left we had various photos taken in and around the entrance to the studios.  This included a short walk to Tescos to a point where you could see the sign for the George Lucas Stage!

We then de-kitted and had a few more photos taken using the Elstree Studio signs as much as possible.  We were also given a small donation by Bob, the event organiser of £50 to go to Dreamflight.

It was great to see Dave, John, James, Stu and little James, Ken, Paul, Sonya and AJ, Paul, Susan and Megan, Gary and Rachel.  I think that it is safe to say that we were all a little hot and sweaty at the end of the event.... it was just so hot!!!