Sunday, 23 March 2008

New Prize donated,watch this space F1 fans !

Just a quicky (as the actress said to the bishop !),to let you all know that yesterday,whilst chatting to my cousin who works for the Renualt F1 team, the subject of our little charity bash came up (strange how it always seems to !) and he has pledged to get us a couple of tickets for the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone in July.Not only that, but these are the all singing types with hospitality thrown in for good measure (that,for the uninitiated,means lots of grub,free tea and coffee, a grandstand seat and lots of free goodies to boot...nice !).I will keep you posted as to the exact deatails as i recieve them, but it is going to be an excellent prize for someone :-).
Update 2/4/2008
It now looks like the prize will be in the form of a pair of tickets to attend the Qualifications at Silverstone on the Saturday,along with Breakfast,drinks and lunch included.A view of the action from the Renault team grandstand area and then later on in the day a guided tour of the Renault F1 HQ in good is that ?
We will be posting details of how to enter the competition to win this awesome prize in the next few days, so keep an eye on this blog !. *****DETAILS ARE NOW POSTED*****

Saturday, 22 March 2008

The joys of fundraising :-)

So today (Saturday 22nd) it has been a typical British March day.So far we've had sunshine,rain,wind,blue skies and to cap it all...snow !.I took the kids out to participate in a local Easter egg hunt in Sleaford, we completed the course around the nature reserve in about 25 mins, braving the affore mentioned adverse conditions...i don't know about an Easter egg prize at the end, they should have got an SAS survival award :-).

Over the last couple of days myself and Glen have been trying to secure the collection of a car identical to our Scirocco 2 Morocco vehicle that has been offered to us free of charge by a guy in London.Unfortunately neither of us has access to a trailer, the car is not in a running state and the fella wants it gone by the end of the bank holiday !.Its a real shame that we can't get her up here, or even across to Glens pad as she would be a great source of spares for our project, oh well, you can't always sort everything i suppose.

"Scarlet" the S2M car is now being given some proper TLC at AW's in Sleaford, and along side her in the workshop is our "Half Roc" trailer (As yet unnamed).I spoke to Andy Walsh on Thursday night and he is aiming to get the car back to me by the 29th, and the trailer sometime a week or two later.

On Friday I phoned Lee (Custom Vinyl Graphics) to have a chat about plans for the production of our logo's, some T-Shirts and some car stickers, and discovered that moment he was in Sleaford with his family, and on the way to an indoor play area (for the benefit of his 2 boys, not himself...well thats what he told me !-).After finding this out I decided to pop down there with my 4 year old and have engage with Lee in an impromptue "business meeting" in the middle of a large room full of very loud screaming most meeting that i attend come to think of it !.

Changing Tack slightly can I just say a big thank you to a mate of mine at the hospital called Sean (the mate, not the hospital !).Sean has very kindly offered to loan me one of his cars for a week or so until I get the Scirocco back on the road.Cheers mate ! ;-).

Sponsorship wise trying to get any "big names" on board is proving a little more difficult than I first expected.So far we have had replies in the negative (or no reply at all !) with names such as, i will spare their blushes :-).Anyway all respond with similar explanations along the lines of having "designated charities" or the likes, and whilst i appreciate this may be relevant if i was asking a small local business, i don't really think that the request for a single mobile phone, a few gallons of liquid gold or a few quid to stick some logo's on the side of the car is going to break the backs of global "Blue chip" you ?

We are really hoping to take the car and trailer on their first fundraising outing at GTI Spring festival on the 19th April, and it is to this end that we really have to get things sorted asap.Once the car leaves the paintshop we will be driving her up to Lee to get the graphics fitted, then the towbar needs to be attatched and wired, the engine tuned and a good valet just for good measure.Looks like the next few weeks are going to be quite busy.......for a change !.

Oh, nearly forgot, if anyone knows of any worthy causes based in North Africa that would benefit from the deliver of items via our trailer (we hope to have a little spare space we can utilise for cargo), please get in touch and lets make an effort to try and use this trip to not only help people in the UK, but also those over in Morocco who have hardships that we will never understand, and lets try in some small way to make life a little easier for them :-).

You can call me on my mobile if you are able to help our event in any way, or if you have an idea for helping an North African based charity.Mobile: 07974935611.Andy

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Read the book,seen the film,got the..............

Last Saturday I had a very useful and interesting conversation with a chap called Chris who was introduced to me a few weeks ago as "the fella who has been to Morocco...and beyond "!.

Chris and his wife travelled to Africa in an old VW Passat in 2006, and judging by the enthusiasm Chris displayed whilst chatting in the pub, they had a hell of a good time....or was it just the beer ?................. (just joking !).

It's a strange thing, but even in the modern age travelling to a foreign country outside of the EU is still a very rare thing to to, probably because the majority of us Europeans don't really like "roughing it" when away on our hols, and consider a walk of 100 yards down to the beach as being a "bit of a hike" !.

Meeting Chris was a godsend in the simple fact that having himself driven to our intended destination, and using a similar method of transportation he had an awful lot of info that Glen and I are going to find immensly useful in our challenge...especially interesting was the story of a hurridly carried out repair to a collapsed shock absorber utilising such random items as a short legth of scaffold pole and a couple of wire coathangers :-).

Entering Morocco appears to be the most intense experience that is set to confront us when we first alight from the ferry, the process of getting into the country with your car involves lots of documents,some money a lot patience and plenty of handfulls of boiled sweets to keep the local youngsters (minders !) happy.He advised us to carry duplicates of everything important.Driving licences,passports,green cards,insurance documents etc as they quite often form the basis (by their non return after examination) of negotiations with the local officials and how much they squeeze out of you for passage to your next destination, Chris refered to these "payments" as gratuities or tips, the sort that you would give to a waiter...except that a waiter would not have the power (or inclination) to stick our sorry ass*s in jail if he so decided !.

One thing that struck me during our chat was the sheer size of the continent we are visiting, and this was further demonstrated when Chris produced a fold out map and extended it to it's full size,suddenly I realised what a small part of Africa we will get to see !, even driving over 100 miles into the country we are only just touching its periphery...the analagy of iceberg tips seems very apt as a metaphore :-)

I am still reading the very useful manual that Chris was given by the organisers of the rally he went on, and the information it contains therein will, i am sure, be just as relevant and useful to myself and Glen when we make our run down to "The dark Continent".When we first started planning this trip some 3 months ago it seemed that perhaps we were getting carried away and there was no reason to start so early on in the year, but to be quite honest I am glad that we did, because there are an awful lot of bases to cover, and now in March with less than 6 months to go before the off there are still emails to send,calls to make and routes to plan...oh, and we had better sort out some sponsorship at some point too !, after all, that is what all this preparation is for isn't it.

Friday, 7 March 2008

So much happening,better do an update !

Ok, so where do I start ? I won't try to recall the exact dates that events occured, but will instead just try to include all relevant details that I think are worth here goes !....

The Car's refurbishment is now well under way at AW's Accident Repair Centre in Sleaford after a slight delay , and owner Andy Walsh will be documenting the progress of Scarlet from ugly duckling to Swan by photographing her over the next fortnight (Thanks Andy !).I will post more details of scarlets refurb when I get some pictures to accompany it.

The Trailer (or "half Roc" as we call it !) was progressed this week after Paul B took it on himself to try out his newly acquired compressor and saw on his old GT2 Scirocco, and after shedding a few drops of blood in the process (nothing serious...who needs to count to 10 on their fingers anyway !), he trailered the rear end of the car from Derby to Mansfield arriving at the premises of our metalwork experts (and greatly appreciated sponsors) ASMech (Mansfield) mid day Tuesday.It took 5 or six of us to get the bum of the Scirocco off of the trailer, but after a brief struggle we managed to get her unloaded and into the workshop were work started in earnest on it's transformation from scrap back end, to eye catching trailer.Many thanks to Richard Toon and his crew for this priceless help, it will make the whole process of getting the "rig"ready in time for the start of the VW show season a lot easier :-).

A big thanks you to Bob over in Nottighamshire who,after letting me have a towbar for the Scirocco for the huge sum of £3.00 ! then went on (after I yapped on for some time about our trip...sorry Bob !)to donate a pair of rear lights for the trailer (the old clusters had gone).Top Fella :-)

Lee, my trusty Graphics/Vinyl man has agreed to do the logo's for the trip again, and we may also be producing T-Shirts with the logo that we will be selling @ approx £10 each to raise even more funds for our charities.

Alistair from Waddington is going to produce a 1/18 Scale Die Cast model of the car and it's trailer (complete with log's), then pop it in a display case and we will have that with us at the shows.Eventually we will be holding a draw to win this unique prize.Thanks Alistair.

On Saturday last week I received an Email from Kaz and Pete, some people up the road that I had met originally through "FreeCycle", an Internet recycling organisation that has groups around the UK.They had heard about the trip that was being planned (probably from me because I tell anyone.....well anyone who hangs around long enough to listen !) and had decided between them to help our efforts by donating a SatNav System to good is that ?.
Now the reason that Kaz and Pete decided to help us is not just down to them being thoroughly nice people, but because both of them have lost siblings to Cancer.Kaz lost her sister to Leukaemia 3 years ago at the age of only 35, she had 5 children and did not even know she had the disease.
Pete lost his brother only six months ago to Myelodyplasia which,although not cancer,can develop into leukaemia. and the symptoms of which are often very similar to those caused by cancer.
In my experience of fundraising (which is only really about 9 months or so !) I have found that it is the ordinary people that I meet that are the most likely to help you out,sometimes because they know someone who has the disease, maybe they have an illness themselves,or perhaps sadly they have lost a loved one through cancer of some sort.These are the bread and butter of campaigns such as this on that myself and Glen are undertaking, they are proof if proof was needed, that out there in this big wide world of ours there are still good,generous people who care about more than just the material things in life, and have in some cases been touched by events that have resulted in perhaps the loss of someone very close and very dear to them.
You know during the preparations for this event I have sent out hundreds of emails,made dozens of phone calls,dropped in to many companies and spoken to many individuals about our challenge, often asking for help and support in our quest....and do you know one thing that I have learned in all of this ? It's not the big companies, the multinational corporations worth hundreds of millions of pounds, and are always telling us how much they care for our custom,for our well being and for our best interests that are the first to offer help,often I get no response to emails,letters and answerphone messages...not even a simple "NO"!
Its the small companies, the local companies, individuals and local groups that are the ones we should be proud of.
I want everyone who reads this blog to take a good look at the left hand column headed "S2M Sponsors", and also the list of private individuals that I will soon be posting, and I want you to give these people a "virtual" pat on the back !.Well done and thank you to all, for you,every one of you,are our inspiration.Andy and Glen.

P.S anyone who I have forgotten to mention in this "dispatch", please forgive me, but I am currently typing this in between nursing 2 poorly children and tidying my house !.Until next time,take care :-)