Normally after any form of event I am quite quick at getting a blog post online for maximum impact and to stay current. However last Saturday we were involved in something quite special, to the extent it has taken a few days to digest how the day went.
A few of you may remember an auction we did on behalf of the Hoyles centre in Bury just before Christmas, one of the prizes was a sponsorship package at Sedgely Tigers RUFC. A prize I was personally delighted to win, as we had something special planned for it.
Anyway we chose the Tigers home game against Chester which took place in a mud bath last weekend (March 10th), in all honesty the match, the result, the weather didn’t really matter. As you will know we support the Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour charity ( http://www.joshwilson.org.uk/ ) whenever we can and had asked them to find us a family who would like to be our guests on the day……. And that’s where the magic happened.
We are treated to the company of 4-year-old Oscar who suffers from Leukemia and his mum Leann. It really was remarkable to see such a young brave young boy, carrying on as if it was just another day. To say Oscar took over the day is a slight under exaggeration as Lynette (Mrs GDT) became his chaperone for the day leaving mum to have a bit of a well deserved rest. Me, I just let the two youngsters (Oscar and Mrs GDT) enjoy their day together, which I am sure the photographs will tell you, they had a ball.
Before the game we were treated by the fantastic Sedgley Tigers team to a fantastic meal where Oscar was adamant he was having chicken nuggets (not on the menu), but can you guess what he got ? After which he was shown how to unofficially drink gravy (straight from the boat), not too sure mum was watching at the time, but I am sure when he try’s it at home, we will find out and be in a bit of trouble.
After our guest of honour had taken over the table, conducted the raffle (which we didn’t win, even though Oscar gave his mums ticket a lucky dip in the gravy :>) ) It was playtime for Mrs GDT and Oscar, which included numerous selfies, a couple of facetime calls, we had to use facetime as Oscar didn’t actually want to stand with his mum and myself, preferring the company of Mrs GDT. I’m not too sure how much of the game they watched but it really did not matter, when you see the end of match photo with a rugby team caked in mud with the two bright gleaming SuperJosh hoodies of Oscar and Mrs GDT you will know why.
For this one day we had a sneak preview into the works of The SuperJosh charity, and what they must do on a daily basis for children with serious illnesses etc, proving what an awesome decision it is to support them when we can.
Will we do it again ? We have more involvement throughout the year planned, so just watch this space.
Finally I must give a massive thankyou to :-
Sedgley Tigers RUFC http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/sedgleyparktigers
Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity http://www.joshwilson.org.uk/
Oscar and Leann for giving us a fantastic day.
For over 12 months I had been playing with the idea of how to raise some money for our favourite charity the The Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity aka SuperJosh. Various incarnations came to mind but to be popular we had to make driving “sexy” just passing a driving test wasn’t going to be enough to tempt people in. And…….. like all good ideas Drive4Josh finally came to fruition over some Prosecco, wine and uncle Jack (Daniels) ooops it would be amiss of me to forget some strange tasting rocket fuel flavoured Vodka that Gill dragged from her secret stash, names were put forward and we had a plan. So after being plyed with alcohol and the excitement and enthusiasm of Gill and Lu Drive4Josh was finally born.
Firstly we needed a secret route with various road conditions, this needed to be a route that would not only challenge a learner but also challenge some experienced drivers also one that had some, lets call them “failure points”.
Secondly, we would actually monitor how they drive regarding smoothness, hard accelration and harsh braking would be serioulsy penalised, so we used my old trusted Iphone app DriveGain – dont bother searching for it because its no longer available, God help me if I ever delte it off my phone.
Sweaty palms and butterfly’s were in abundance, I really didn’t expect this from experienced drivers, it wasn’t as though I was going to take there driving licence away was it :>). Imagine just having me sitting next to you in a car with a DL25 (test marking sheet), peoples perception of driving changed, eg Paul Campbell refusing to overtake a vehicle on the Motorway and simply following it at 65 mph, just so he didnt fail for speeding, after 3 miles of following said vehicle I thought it best to give a hint it was OK to get passed it.
I can honestly say those “failure points” didn’t disappoint. Who’d a thought a simple STOP sign would catch out so many people :>), STOP means STOP and not “roll over slowly”.
One other “failure point’ also probably gave me the most humorous moment (although there were many), which saw Josh’s mum Dawn Fidler cursing for about 5 minutes and adamant she was going to go to Bury Council on the Monday morning to complain about missing speed limit signs. There wasn’t a sign missing, just in fact a misread sign. Which sign? I here you shout at your screen ?
This sign is generally found outside schools and the lights flash when the crossing patrol is around at opening and closing times. We passed at 7:30 at night :>) and I can assure you, the lights were not flashing. If anyone from Bury Council is reading this you owe me a pint for saving you from Dawns wrath.
I have so many memories from Drive4Josh that you really would be bored with these ramblings, but I have to let a slight little giggle out at Gill Arnotts first words to hubby Eric when she realised he failed for going to slow, I cant print it here but, well, i’ll leave that to your imagination. I really could go on and tell you about one of our victims running a red light to smelling that beautiful aroma of a burning clutch on Kay Brow (Ramsbottom)
As the end of September loomed it was time to announce our winner, as all of our victims came together for an evening at The Chinese Buffet with Eva and her team.
A full turn out even if Nicola Campbell sent a substitute, with Paul bringing his daughter Caitlin to find out just how good daddy is at driving. I’m still laughing at the face Caitlin gave me when I told her I’d never been karting, something that needs addressing I believe.
So it was my turn for a sweaty palm and it was time to stand up and speak, everybody knows how shy I am and hate being centre of attention (yeah really :>)
No longer can anyone complain about women drivers !!! just ask Lydia our winner, who will now face excitement and adrenalin of her prize, a Red Letter track day, driving a Lamborghini, Ferrari and an Aston Martin, am I jealous ? hell yeah.
Did I enjoy it ? Definitely, Did the “victims” enjoy it ? In their own way ? Was it a success ? Yes
Will I do it again – Hell yeah, but bigger and better, the plan is already underway.
Until next year when Drive4Josh returns,
Drive safe – Graham
1: Lydia El-Shazly
2: Eric Arnott
3: Simeon Holt
4: John Fidler
5: Dawn Fidler
6: Nicola Campbell
7: Adam Etchells
8: Lu Etchells
11: John Bakewell
12: Paul Campbell
13: Gill Arnott