Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Tomorrow marks the end in another chapter of "Evan's Big Journey". The "Win Christmas" raffle, which will hopefully live up to it's billing and really provide a great Christmas for someone. The idea for this came back in July - we were starting to get so many "Bits&Bobs" being donated that we didn't know what to do with them. You can only really have so many raffles, so I just thought about having one massive big raffle with loads of stuff in it. (Partly inspired by the one on "The Gadget Show" each week). Get everyone to just buy one ticket, but make it worth paying a fiver for. The conditions of our raffle license mean that we can only raise £20k per draw, so that was the target. However, a good idea seemed to be to set it around a theme so, from somewhere, the idea of "WIN CHRISTMAS" popped into my head. BTW ~ contrary to what this might indicate - I am not in Marketing (no offence...).

The next step was to start "blagging" the stuff - and we had a decent start, with benefactors starting to offer items. However, we had one of the biggest, and earliest pieces of good fortune, when someone offered to buy everything we needed. This has the effect of turning the draw from a "hotch-potch" (still worth winning) to a bigger, better, prize. It also saved us so much time in sourcing the prize. The centre-piece of which is £750 of vouchers. Enough in itself to pretty much pay for Christmas... However, the execs at work have also dug deep in their collective cupboards / wine cellars and thrown in the booze (lots of it!!), a good friend is doing the turkey, another friend threw in another £50 of vouchers, another got panto tickets and Santa train ride tickets, and so it went on. Too much to mention really (full list on the website, but tickets no longer available... ). Massive, massive thanks to EVERYONE who offered something.

We took delivery of the tickets around early September and people started to sell them (thanks to everyone) but special thanks to Jo who has coordinated everything, behind the scenes and was doing Christmas shopping in October for it. Without this, and without the sellers (and the buyers, of course) it wouldn't have been a success. Which it has been, a massive success! We havent made as much as our original target, but it says so much about the whole fundraising effort that I occasionally find myself saying it has "only" made half of that target. It's actually unbelievable when we think about it - back in July, I was discussing it with my brother when we were planning it in its early stages and we reckoned "a couple of grand" would be a good result.

Anyway, back to the draw tomorrow. Fingers crossed everyone. Obviously, only one person can win it - and we hope it makes someone's Christmas in the same way that it has already made ours!

Merry Christmas ! (even if you don't win...)

Monday, 15 November 2010

68 days....

Been a hectic few weeks, even though we thought things were due to slow down. Just this weekend we have attended the Motown night @ Skipton Rugby club, RideoffroadUK end of season "do", and been to see "The Sewer Rats". We have also been trying to sort out the last stages of the Christmas raffle, as well as taking delivery of the Christmas cards (both still available...).

We were also chuffed to see the ball photos. Great job by Paul - take a look at http://pauljosephphotography.co.uk/galleryindex/Evansindex/ if you want to rekindle memories of the night or even see what you missed.

It still keeps coming as well. Dynamo Joe's Ceilidh takes place on Friday - if you are interested, tickets are still available. Then we plan to say hello to some kind/mad souls who are running the Abbey Dash @ Leeds at the weekend. The weekend after (Sunday 28th) is Silsden's Christmas Market. The Yummy Mummies will be reprising their role of Coffee Morning hostesses, but the highlight for us is that the Gala Committee have so kindly asked Evan to switch on the Christmas tree lights. 4:30pm on the day. It kind of sums up how things have snowballed and that the whole community is really behind Evan's Big Journey. Bit overwhelming at times....

On a personal front, we have started to think about Christmas - and will hopefully get chance to find everything we need on Saturday when we take a well earned (well, I think so...) half day off and nip to Meadowhall. 

Oh yes, then we need to plan a trip to America....

We have made "Facebook friends" with a lot of other families who are also going through the same process and, as we get closer to the trip, every update that shows what they are thinking about or have been through has special resonance with us. Certainly makes it feel much more real, and i'll admit a little scary. 

Well, that's all for now. Thanks again to everyone who has helped at any level, with any event, made a donation, or just generally helped us feel less stressed. 

Monday, 8 November 2010

Not quite the Crucible...!

I did contemplate calling this blog "Snooker loopy" or "A load of balls" but that just seemed too obvious...

Well, another big event over and done with ~ 24 hour snooker marathon. The "planning" on this one started back in August, just after we had started fundraising. I was on a race trip from the Sunnybank and a few of us debated ideas and im not sure who suggested it (suspect it was either "John Smith", "Arthur Guinness" or perhaps "Snr San Miguel"...) but we decided to play snooker for 24 hours - and get sponsored to do so. Easy ?! Well, it seemed it at the time. Over the next few weeks we refined the plan and with the help of the club we incorporated it into a couple of nights fundraising activity as well. My aim was to raise enough money to make it really worth doing, especially as people were giving up their weekends and had £2,000 in the back of my mind.

Before we knew it, it was upon us and, armed with just a collection of energy drinks, a change of shirts, toothbrushes and a few  newspapers to keep us going, we broke off. The first few hours just seemed like an ordinary night down at the club. In the background the members night was going on with the dual treats of pie&peas and Trevor Craig - that bloke off of tv's x-factor (apparently).

As it got towards, and then past midnight the numbers dwindled - although  we did have some peple join us even then. Not sure if it was that they really wanted to wish us well, or that there was a promise of getting a pint. Hopefully both? However, it was soon left to myself, Tony, Greg, Daz, Ol, Dan, Leon and Jimmy to keep going.

I'll admit that we did all pinch a cat-nap here and there in between frames in the early hours but before we knew it, it was morning and we started getting visitors (my dad, Mrs Tony, my boss & Mrs Boss, and the cleaners) and before we knew it, it was morning and we were half way through. It felt like we had done the hardest bit. (Although some would argue the hardest bit was trying to eat the curry we had delivered - final word on that topic...!)

Evan, along with Maya, Sam and Loup all arrived for a photshoot around 10ish and that perked us all up. After that we had quite a lot of visitors which really helped speed things along and it was really nice to see some friendly faces (again, maybe attracted more by the bar as much as the chance to sit and watch 8 half-asleep, unshaved, increasingly wiffy blokes trying to play snooker).

The final push. A quick freshen up, a final cat-nap, an energy drink and even a tidy up of our temporary living quarters, and it was 7pm. Saturday night started and we were into the last few frames. People started to pop in, they seemed equally amazed and impressed that we were still there and still going.

By 8:40 we had played 53 frames of snooker and had scored over 5,000 points - and it seemed fitting that we should all cross the line together. So we played one final 54th game ~ 4v4. Slightly shambolic but a celebratory and rip-roaring finish with the winning points scored with literally seconds to go (where we were then ushered into the "big room" and given a standing ovation).

"Oh, go on then, one last pint..." and then I headed home for a quick bite to eat, say hello to Loup and then to bed.

Thanks so much to the lads for taking part. They all gave up their time on this - not just the 24 hours, but both the recovery and planning time, as well as getting the sponsors in the first place. It really means a lot to us, that people are so willing to offer so much. Also, a big thanks to Sunnybank Social Club for providing the resources and support that we needed to allow us to get on with it.

In the end, we should raise a couple of pounds over two grand. ...I love it when a plan comes together!!!