Sunday, 27 April 2014

The 99th Garrison collects for St Luke's Hospice at Meadowhall in Sheffield - Saturday, 26th April, 2014

The 99th Garrison was asked to support St Luke's Hospice in Sheffield at one of its collections at Meadowhall.  St Luke's Hospice cares for people aged 18 and above throughout Sheffield who have incurable illnesses.  Their aim is to control their symptoms, alleviate pain and give them the best possible quality of life - all free of charge and dependent entirely upon the commitment and generosity to provide most of the money they need.
Nikki from St Luke's Hospice couldn't resist having a go at fighting with one of our troopers!
We were to troop from 10:30 to 4:00pm and met at 09:30am in the Centre's Oasis Food Area before setting up base in the Centre's management suite for the day.  I was joined by Dave P, Dave S, Alan, John B, Jason, Andy W, Rachel and Harrison for this event. 
A Trooper from the other side of the Pennines!   Fortunately, border control let him in!
Having got changed we then joined the team from St Luke's in the area that they had been assigned to for the day.  They had a ball game set up which is difficult to explain but basically you had to catch small yellow balls in a contained area whilst air was being blasted at you... more tricky than it sounds! 
Crowds gather around the Hospice's ball game
The area was therefore already quite busy and we were immediately very popular.  It was an area of the centre that we had trooped in before, last November in fact when we were there collecting for Help For Heroes.  However, we had different security today and it is fair to say that they were not very understanding and twice asked us to move back to small confined area where St Luke's were.. .. apparently this was to stop obstructions ... but the centre wasn't as busy as last November and we were not causing an obstruction. There was also an area where X Factor was holding some auditions... they were prepared to let us in but the centre security staff were not!!  Hey ho, we still made the best of it and I hope that we raised a lot of money.  Update..... now know that we collected £747.07!!!  Well done all!! A great result!!
Ape Trooper had to have a go at the ball game.. it was actually quite difficult - even more so in armour!
We had seven troopers today and only Rachel as crew - with some assistance from Harrison so after about an hour of trooping I changed from my Scout Armour to Officer's Uniform so that I could help to crew.  As is usual with the Meadowhall centre, it was very, very warm for us in costume/armour and we took regular breaks every hour and an hour for lunch.

There was lots of fun in the changing room today with plenty of double entendre - mostly around the fine tuning of armour and polishing and Rachel having to strap Jasons armour together around his derrière!!  It was a nice surprise when we were also joined in the afternoon by Chris who helped with some crewing duties and innuendos!
We finished trooping at about 4:00pm and dekitted and then posed for the post troop photo - sadly.  Jason had had to rush off before this and before I had chance to stop him and make sure he was in it!

With my Deputy Charity Liaison Officer
Huge thanks to all the troopers and crew who came along and to Nikki from St Luke's for inviting us.  Also thanks to the reception staff at the centre who were as friendly and helpful as ever and to the centre management for letting us have the use of a room for the day.  I hope that when we go back to Meadowhall in November for Help for Heroes the security staff on duty are the ones that we are used to to and used to us!

Monday, 7 April 2014

99th Garrison attends Scarborough's Si Fi convention - 6th April, 2014

The 99th Garrison was asked by the organisers of Scarborough’s first ever si fi convention to attend their event on Saturday and Sunday, 5th & 6th April, 2014.  I agreed to do this one on the Sunday as I quite fancied a day by the seaside – even if it did mean a two and half hour drive each way and getting up just after 5:00am!
The view from outside the venue when I arrived
I was first to arrive at the venue which was right by the sea front and waited for the others to arrive.  I was soon joined by Paul, Mike and Jo from Scarborough and then by Nigel and Jim from the North East.  We were also joined by another Paul in the afternoon.

The event took place at The Spa in Scarborough and was quite a large venue with lots of space.  The cast of Red Dwarf was there and some actors from Star Wars [Chris Bunn, Ken Coombs, Marolyn Turk, Stephanie English, Nick Joseph, Salo Gardner and John Simpkin] and also Colin Baker and Kai Owen. 

We were given a changing room as our base for the day and were ready to go out at about 10:15am.  There was a steady influx of people into the event but I think that it is fair to say that of the two days, Saturday had been the busier day.

We posed for photos with the general public and also for local press and photographers, had a break for lunch and then trooped again until about 3:45 pm.  We also had our photographs taken with all of the Star Wars actors who were then.  Nigel was quite miffed with himself for not bringing his Star Wars poster with him to add their signatures to his already quite impressive collection of signatures from the Star Wars cast.

I decided that having driven all that way, I could not leave the seaside without having a 99 ice cream, so me and Nigel found the nearest Ice Cream shop and bought a couple of 99s and took a selfie of two members of the 99th Garrison having a 99!

I tried Cookies and Cream flavoured ice cream... it was lovely! :-) 

I left not long after that and made the long journey back home where I got to at about 6:45pm - suitably tired.

All in all, not the busiest of events and certainly not a very profitable one in terms of the amount that we collected for Dreamflight as we only raised £22.97.  The issue that we are starting to see with our attendance and charity collections at conventions is that having paid their entrance fee into the event, people don’t seem to want to pay for their photo with us - something that we may have to change our tactics on for future events and maybe ask the event organisers/promoters to make a donation instead.
Playing a game of..... Star Wars!  in the Gaming Area.
Was great to see Nigel and Jim from the North East and to meet Paul, Mike, Paul and Jo from Scarborough.  Thanks All.  Also thanks to Andy for inviting us and organising the changing room and parking.