St. Mary’s Hospital Children’s Department

One old dog; a bag of new tricks

Challenge

After doctors at St Mary’s saved my son’s life, I contacted them offering to organise an event of their choice. Rather than a conference, they were keen to mount a fundraiser. They had no budget, my team were on other projects, and this was a community initiative rather than a corporate event – something that required a very different set of skills!

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Promoting the event locally was key. In addition to mountains of flyers and posters, daily social media bursts on Twitter and Facebook were pressed into action. The latter proved vital in saving the day by attracting a last-minute sponsor, Cloud Twelve, when two local estate agents had to bow out.

Donations such as toys and books from neighbouring businesses helped keep our outlay to a minimum. Our only expenses were for a bouncy castle, balloons, tablecloths and 200 raw eggs for a particularly messy (and oddly enjoyable) ‘Great Egg Catching’ competition!

Learning to beg, borrow or (occasionally) steal was another new experience. But I was amazed how often people came up trumps – especially our last moment (literally) replacement BBQ chef who produced miracles out of the back of a vintage VW Beetle.

Organising volunteers also proved a challenge. You have to handle people giving up their free time very differently to the way you might treat full time employees. But despite a few no-shows the staff from St. Mary’s, busy mums and committed individuals all restored my faith in human nature with their commitment.

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Although the money is still being counted the total raised has already exceeded £3,000. It proves that it’s never too late to learn. And that when your heart is in something no problem – no budget, no time, no full-time team – can stop you pulling off a success. And I am thrilled (I think) to say that I have already been asked to organise another fundraiser for this most deserving of causes.

“Thank you most sincerely for the amazing energy and imagination that you put into the Summer Fair. It was a lovely event and greatly enjoyed, not only by all the families and people who took part, but also by those of us who had stalls. I also want to extend our thanks to all the members of staff, and indeed your families, who took part.” St. Mary’s Children’s Services