Adhering to an old adage that ‘the early bird catches the worm’, yesterday East Leeds Marie Curie (MC) fundraising group arrived at Rothwell Park at 08.30am. Our metaphorical worm the securing of a prime location near the carnival entrance to hopefully enhance our tombola stall’s visibility to festival goers when gates opened at 11am.
The groups facilitation of this popular form of carnival/fete pitch aimed at raising funds to support MC’s provision of end of life care. The organisations six volunteers (Alan, Joan, Helen, Lynne, my wife Karen and me) aiming to turn 100+ kindly donated prizes into a financial benefaction for the charity we represented.
Clad in our highly visible yellow MC t-shirts, Alan, Joan, Karen and me spent the first half hour erecting a gazebo from the A4 sheeted directions. This guidance documents print so diminutive a hawk would’ve struggled to read them. Not that there was a bird of prey around the place, anyway.
Even if they had’ve been, the hawk would’ve no doubt had problems communicating those construction directions to the four volunteers straining their eyes at the sheet of A4 in front of them…… Unless Alan and/or Joan could speak hawk. Something I’m unable to confirm or deny as, unsurprisingly, it wasn’t an enquiry which reared it’s head before, during or after our voluntary work.
Anyhow, it wasn’t a big deal, we eventually worked out that the gazebo poles numbered 3 and 4 interlocked with poles 1 and 2 to create the structures roof. The metal legs of the construction provided by poles 5 and 6.
Once they’d been fitted together the weatherproof cover was enveloped over the frame and, as they say, Bob was your uncle. Although not literally…… Unless Alan and/or Joan have an uncle Bob. Again, something I’m unable to clarify as, unsurprisingly, that enquiry wasn’t raised either before, during or after our voluntary work.
The completion of the gazebo and the commencement of displaying our tombola prize bounty coincided with a brief rain shower over south Leeds and the sight of an overhead hawk with a sheet of A4 in its beak…… Although, I may’ve imagined the latter.
Thankfully the precipitation was fleeting, freshening the previously humid air in preparation for the gloriously sunny late morning and afternoon which followed.
At 11am the carnival was officially opened by the committee chair*** and we received the first of what was to become a steady flow of punters for the next five and a half hours.
*** – That’s the committee leader not a talking seat, which would be clearly a ludicrous notion!
With our pitch being located next to a stall selling pies, pasties and sausage rolls, the commencement of the fundraising was a welcome distraction for yours truly; my self-discipline being strongly tested with such tempting baked sights. As my cravings grew stronger it was only visions of the steak and ale pies taking the form of my cardiologist’s face stopping me from an impulsive pastry purchase.
However, once the customers arrived hoping Lady Luck would shine as brightly as the Rothwell sunlight and MC volunteer t-shirts, thoughts of unhealthy food and incurring the wrath of my heart doctor abated.
The favourable response to our tombola certainly made the venture worthwhile. Not just from raising of £525.25 for the Marie Curie organisation, but from the cathartic buzz experienced when undertaking voluntary roles. The craic with customers and fellow volunteers during the eight and a half hours spent in their company worth the hours of preparation prior to and during the day.
Benevolent people of Rothwell and the East Leeds Marie Curie fundraising team, take a bow!!