Tuesday, 26 November 2013

99th Garrison collects for Dreamflight at John Lewis, Trafford Centre, Manchester - Sunday, 24th November, 2013.

The view that met the keen shoppers as the shutters slowly rose to reveal us waiting for them.
Through some excellent networking that one of our members did [Gary Davies… no relation!] the 99th Garrison was asked to help promote John Lewis at its Trafford Centre Branch and the 24th November, 2013 was the chosen day.  In return we were allowed to collect for Dreamflight see. www.dreamflight.org.
The full team with our fab crew, Pat, Dave, Rachel and Rachel!
As the 24th November, was a Sunday, this meant that the store did not open until 11:30am and meant that we therefore did not need to be at the venue until 10:30am.
Not quite Lord Vader's size or colour!
On arrival at the store we had to head to its reception and then go through the rather large staff canteen to a training room which was to be our base for the day.  Joining me today was Gary and Rachel, John and Pat, Jim, Chris, Dave A, Dave P, Dave S and Rachel, Alan.
A member of our super Crew Team - Rachel.
As the store was ready to open until 11.30am we were ready in armour and stood behind the shop’s main shutters at 11:25 waiting for them to go up.  This was strange as we could here the “buzz” of the shoppers outside eagerly waiting to get into the shop to start their Christmas shopping but we knew that they were in for a shock when they saw us, lined up waiting for them!
Love this Christmas looking photo of Boba Fett
As expected the shutters went up and slowly we were revealed to the waiting shoppers from the feet up! There were lots of giggles and gasps and then the camera phones came out for a couple of minutes before we decided to move them along” at which a large majority of them also dropped coins into our collection buckets.
Arresting Father Christmas!
We had our own area in the Furniture Department of the store where our very own backdrop of a Death Star wall had been set up…. Constructed by own members!  We spent some of the day stood by this posing for photos and some of the time mingling with shoppers in the store.  This included photos with Father Christmas and many children, some of whom were more excited to see us than him!
Admiring the Centre's Christmas lights as the evening set in.
We also had one teenage girl come to see us who was all embarrassed about having a photo taken with us, but when her friend told us that it was her birthday I started off singing Happy Birthday to her and the other troopers who were also there at that point then joined in too… Happy Birthday Danielle!
With birthday girl - Danielle.
We stopped for lunch at about 1:00pm and were able to use the Staff Canteen. This was subsidised and I got a chicken korma and poppadom for £1.50!  Its not often we get to eat so cheaply on troops! Lord Vader was so hungry he had two dinners and a bar of chocolate!  Boba Fett was very healthy with his Roast Beef, Roast Potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding and not one of his five-a-day in sight!  Dave A had a full roast beef dinner stood up as he had not de-kitted for lunch and stormtroopers cannot sit down!
Resting my feet on a bar stool that cost £335!!!  It was sprung though :-)
We trooped again from 2:00pm until 4:00pm and were fairly busy/steady.  Even the Furniture department had a bit of a higher footfall than normal as people came to see us when our presence there was announced on the store’s Tannoy system.  We collected £517.00 and John Lewis also made a donation of £100.00..........for Dreamflight !  Thank you All!!

Once we de-kitted and I had dropped my armour back into my car, I returned to the store as I had seen a couple of ideal Christmas presents whilst we had been walking around.  Also bumped into Rachel and Dave S in there and then had a very pleasant cuppa in Starbucks before setting off back home where I arrived at about 7:30pm remembering that it was actually Sunday and not Saturday and that I had work the following morning!
Its hard work for our crew you know isn't it Dave?!!
A huge thanks to all the troopers listed above and Dave, Rachel and Pat for crewing so well.  Also, a big thank you to John Lewis and Moira for inviting us into their store, making a donation and to Gary for making it happen!

The obligatory post troop photo!