Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Report on the MacMillan Cancer Greatest Coffee Morning in the World 100th Anniversary Celebration

As promised in the last post, here is a more detailed report on the recent 100th Anniversary celebration of  the MacMillan Cancer charity organised in Heytesbury, Wiltshire, on September 30, 2011.  It was but one of many such parties taking place in the local area, as well as around the country.  I have just telephoned the organiser of the event to learn that the grand total at our particular venue raised a magnificent 1,157.00 GBP (USD 1,780.53)!  The whole national jamboree was entitled The Greatest Coffee Morning in the World.

It was a two-hour session, held in a venue situated in a parkland setting, about 3 minutes drive from our home, and while normally walkable, with all the Cuddlies in their various bags to haul round, a car ride was the logical means of delivery!

The venue is called Slater's Barn, and  has quite a story attached to it - which will form the subject of another blog.  The building  looked most inviting upon arrival last Friday morning.  The sun was shining, the temperature was comfortably warm at the start - heating up rapidly as the event carried on - and seemed to be well attended.   Apparently, from a regular participant's viewpoint, the turn-out was a little disappointing, the cause being the unseasonably hot weather.  When temperatures are hitting the low 80's, one does not tend to think about Christmas presents - rather when it will be possible to get to the seaside with the family, I think!  Most years, the autumnal weather is a more reasonable 50 degrees max, usually damp and purchasing Christmas gifts do provide a welcome distraction.

This snapshot was  taken by a neighbour who happened to be passing the table on which the Coldham Cuddlies from www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com, were displayed.  I didn't lay them out in any particular order of preference or size, but somehow they all looked very happy to be where they were.  They certainly must have preferred being open to view - rather than cooped up in plastic bags however spacious- and squeezed into a cupboard in our bedroom, which is where they are usually to be found!  Ed Ted and the gentlemen toys were propped up on the window behind me - which was open to a gentle breeze wafting in and keeping the blazing heat from making everyone in the facility over warm.

There was sufficient space between each display stall for ease of movement from front to back of each table, and I must say,  I was very impressed by the facility itself.  There was a nice carpetted floor, the walls were a neutral cream shade, which set off everyone's products well and there were about eight stalls offering their hand-crafted materials and products for the citizens of  Heytesbury and the surrounding villages of the Wylie River valley.  There were several radiators to be seen - a comforting prospect for most occasions of this sort in the UK and there seemed to be adequate lighting on offer too. Mind you,  my experience is limited  in matters of  charity bazaar venues - this was only my first attempt at participating in a bazaar sale.

One accessed the venue through a floor to ceiling glass door - if memory serves - and entered a vestibule with sufficient room for a table offering hot beverages (coffee, tea - and on this occasion, plenty of cold drinks).  Exhibitors were plied with as much coffee/tea as they required (for free!) and products ranged from the Cuddlies hand made toys, via decorated plant pots, painted key holder boards, and key rings, via a stall offering hand-made electric clocks (with backgrounds which could be chosen to order), there was a table for selling Christmas cards and wrapping paper, another featuring aromatherapy products - many home made, two more were selling raffle tickets (well attended - and I won a bottle of cider!) and finally a table featuring handmade calendars and cards of Heytesbury and the surrounding villages.  In the entrance area, as well as the Coffee area, there was a Home made Cake Stall which seemed to do brisk business.

In the opinion of the organiser, the Silent Auction (a variation of the Tombola theme) was responsible for the greater proportion of the final total.  This is a fund-raising concept that I'd not come across before arriving in Heytesbury three years ago.  Items on offer are laid out (there were three on this occasion, including a three-day trip to Paris in a 5 star hotel - which raised 300 GBP (USD 461.54) by itself) with a sheet of paper and a pencil beside it.  Visitors are invited to place a value on the item and the winner is the one that places the highest value on it.  The modus operandi seems to be very popular hereabouts - I wonder how many of my Followers and readers have come across it?

From my viewpoint, the event was the launch pad for the new Glove Puppet range I had been developing over the past few weeks - which have featured in recent posts in this blog, particularly in "Introducing Glove Puppets to the Cuddlies" - 02/09/2011.  Despite plans to make 8 or 9, time ran out and I was only able to produce 6 completed Puppets.  Having photographed them the day before, so that they could be listed after the event on www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com, they were given a prominent place on the table and I was surprised and very pleased that they attracted a lot of positive attention, and one was even sold.

Six Glove Puppets sitting on a wooden bench

All the Glove Puppets, shown together in the picture above, will feature in their own blog shortly, so I won't tell you which Puppet was sold.  She is destined to become the Forever Friend of a little 2 year old relative of the wife of the former Head Coachman to H.M. Queen Elizabeth.  She and her husband have a home in the village.  I don't think Glove Puppet will be living at Buckingham Palace, but I do know that the gentleman has sons who presently continue to fulfill that duty for Her Majesty - so maybe, Glove Puppet could be living after Christmas on the estate at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, where I believe the Royal Coaches are kept when they are not on duty at various State Occasions.

In addition to the Glove Puppet sale, two Baby Rabbits (one Brown and White (Etsy Listing #73079287) and one Grey and White (Etsy Listing #73147987) found New Best Friends.  The Grey and White Bunny's Forever Friend (due to be a little girl) was in fact due to arrive in the world that very day!  Have yet to discover whether that happy event did take place.

For a first attempt, I was satisfied with the proceedings.  I learned a lot about display etc. made some new acqaintances from the village, and  may be receiving another patient for the Soft Toy Clinic - another bear.  The lady took a card - but, alas, I was not "on the ball" enough to take her contact details at the same time.  My sales technique requires some brushing up!  However, one lives and learns - and as I mentioned earlier, it was my first venture into such activities. 

Till the next time - when the new Glove Puppets, already listed at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com, will be featured.  All the best.  Isobel