Last year we lost two really good friends, Tami Brown and Will Gibney to cancer. It felt as if the world had stopped. I can’t describe how upsetting it was to lose them both and especially within a matter of months. These two were more like family than friends to us here at ATBShop. Will and Tami both lived life to the max and achieved more in their short lives than any of us would ever dream of achieving in our life time. Will’s famous quote “Moneys for spending, life’s for living” really rings true.
Both Tami and Will raised lots of money in their short lives for some really good charities, so much so that they inspired us to hold our own charity day here at the Warehouse. We set about planning our “Big Charity Day” at the Warehouse but we never got round to setting a firm date, but then we met Harry and everything changed. Harrys Aunt Sara came in for a party at the Warehouse and told us all about his harrowing story. Harry had been diagnosed with cancer and had at the time lost his hair due to the treatment. His Aunt said he’s been really good and not complained once! In fact they had tried to make the most out of a bad situation by making up loads of fun games where they could while Harry was in hospital. There were even talks of wheel chair races.
With the theme being “Fun” we all started to plan! We decided there had to be loads of traditional fund raising fun like a raffle prizes and a bake sale. We knew we were going to need help for this so roped in loads of mums to make cake. Sara, Harry’s aunt mostly ran the cake stall with Harry’s mum Emma but loads of parents like Andrea Smith, Katie long, Sam Cottrell, Teresa Goy, Gemma Collins and Chloe Beech plus more very kindly made the most fabulous cakes to sell!
The day kicked off well with a fun parents club. There were a few giveaways and throw outs in this session and a chance to win a goodie bag in our fancy dress competition. Our fancy dress winner was Grace. She laughed and said it was an easy win because she was the only one that really dressed up! We also had Kareen (A regular mum to the park and local artist) running the face painting. Kareen was mobbed with kids all wanting logo’s painting on their faces which really added to the event. Kareen managed to raise £16.12 in the short time she was there, which we were all amazed by as it was only a small donation she asked for.
At the end of Parents club we ran the official opening thanking everyone for coming on down and supporting us. Some of the team and regulars put on a bit of a show for us while we got everyone into place. This was our big opportunity to introduce Harry to everyone. Harry came into the middle of the park and said hello to everyone as we introduced him to the crowd. We explained to the crowd why he was our VIP for the day and what some of the money which we were raising that day would be used for. We then took this opportunity to really make Harry feel special.
With team riders Matt and Paddy on standby up above the park we asked Harry if he’d like a sticker? He made us all laugh because he said “No thanks”. We then ask if he’d like a wristband? This time he said “yes!” Then I asked Matt and Paddy what else they had up there. They said a MX t-shirt. We asked Harry if he also wanted that as well. He smiled and said “Yes please”. We then asked the crowd what other things should we give to him. One of the kids in the crowd shouted out “A scooter!!!” Everyone in the crowd started laughing. Harry looked up and Matt and Paddy had a MX Pro scooter in their hands. Harry looked shocked! Everyone in the crowd started to Cheer. We then thanked MX Scooters for their generosity as they had kindly given us the scooter for Harry and another one for our raffle. We looked round at Harry’s mum to see her reaction, only to see her crying tears of joy.
We knew that this was going to be a truly memorable day.
The day flew by with loads of different stuff happening. It was dry at the start of the day so the newly, nearly finished garden was extremely popular. The new mini ramp in the garden was pretty much packed all day and the new slackline was in working order. There was a chance to have ago on the slackline and to have a quick lesson with the UK’s BEST slackliner. Jake the juggler gave a few demo’s to the parents and riders and even ran a mini comp which was won by Aaron Evans.
By this time the Bake sale was in full swing as we had to pull out two massive tables to accommodate the amount of cake, flap jack and cake pops which we had on sale. Sara, Harrys aunt, ran the table all day and kept having parents bring in more cakes. It was truly like the never ending cake stall!
The BBQ – The Butchers Dog Sausage Company, arrived at 4pm and sold the BEST sausages and burgers which were all homemade. The BBQ really added to the day and made the event feel like a mini festival. They very kindly gave us a large donation which was totally unexpected of £30 for our charities.
We ran lots of fun competitions all day where the riders were able to win fab prizes like skate board decks, Pizza vouchers, Park vouchers and sweets etc so there was a really good atmosphere all day.
At 7pm the bands started to pile in with the some of the BEST Swindon DJ’s. Everyone was so excited as one of the bands. “The Hour Glass Has Turned” had recently played on BBC Radio 1 with the likes of Little Mix and Bastile! Just before the bands kicked off we announced the winners to the raffle. I (Diana) was losing my voice, as it had been a really long day/week. It had been a very emotional day for me in particular as it was the anniversary of Will’s death and I couldn’t stop thinking how much I missed him and of course Tami. There were quite a few moments where I had to escape to keep it all together as these types of events always set me off. Everyone piled into the park and stopped to listen and respectfully gave me their full attention, but as always someone couldn’t be bothered to wait 2 min’s and continued riding the park. This really and I mean really upset me. Only one person actually apologised for riding the park when everyone was sat listening and waiting. To say it was disrespectful to Tami and Will’s friends and family was an understatement. I also wanted to thank Harry and his family for supporting us and for being a huge part of the event. Maybe the people who carried on riding will think long and hard about their actions. I’m not going to name and shame them but I hope they fully take on board how upsetting it was for me. I just needed to write that part not to bring a downer on the day but because it still upsets me even now.
On a better note. The raffle was a huge success thanks to Chloe Beech who had mainly been selling the tickets all day and all the prizes which we had received. So once again thank you to everyone who had taken part or had given us a prize. We managed to raise £182.70 on the raffle alone.
The bands and DJ’s really went for it and made the night. I can’t describe how load they were but they were all totally killing it! All the riders said it was so cool to be riding to live bands and some of the BEST DJ’s they’ve ever heard.
The day was a huge success and without everyone helping we wouldn’t have had such a good day. In totally we raised just under £700 for both charity’s so ATBShop rounded it up so we were able to give £350 to The Prospect Hospice and to The Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Thanks again to everyone who took part and to everyone who also chucked in a few extra pounds to our event. Your generosity of time and money meant a huge deal to us all at the Warehouse!