Normally I’m quite a cynical person when it comes to the motivations and greed of your average human, so it was nice to get my yearly fix of positivity by manning the phones at Boots to take pledges for Children in Need. I’ve done so for around four years now, and it never fails to leave me with a reassured warm feeling, after speaking to so many kind-hearted folks.
“I’m so sorry, love, I can only afford to pledge £25”, one lady kept saying – which, of course, once you factor in Gift Aid is actually £32 anyway, and £32 more than the majority of the population stump up! After a slow start on the phones for us, it was a successful night by finishing time at 2am – with us taking just shy of £250,000 over the phone, and the whole campaign beating the £19million mark on the night.
But that was very much the latter half of the story for me. You see Boots, my esteemed employers, are big supporters of Children in Need. And this year they wanted to smash our previous fund-raising efforts at both Head Office and around the stores by smashing £1million pounds for the charity – which I’m pleased to report was successful!
There were the usual auctions and cake stalls, the Marketing team which my team falls under setup a Market, my team opted for fancy dress which saw me dressed as Chewbacca from around 9am – 2am as I still wore the costume whilst manning the phones! Also, it’s worth noting Katie “the foghorn” successfully completed a 6.5 hour silence – and raised over £200 in the process – I was very proud, as I didn’t think she could remain silent for that long!
But perhaps the best bit of the day for me was a genius idea cooked up by some people who work in a different bit of the business. They decided they wanted to break a world record, and for me personally I was amazed they picked the said same record I would have picked if I had the choice. That was to have the most simultaneous wobble-board players playing along to ‘Tie me Kangaroo Down, Sport’ continuously for five minutes.
And that’s just what we did – I gladly volunteered to help, and so it was Chewbacca was wandering around the carpark trying to get people to stand in the right places. I’d bagged myself a spot in the front row, because some of our data suppliers had been very kind in sponsoring us, and was a little bit alarmed to find the head of the company standing next to me just before the start! But we had a good laugh – and indeed met again later at the call-centre!
The record attempt was duly broken, subject to official confirmation, so have that Airmiles who previously held it! The final frolic of the day for me was the Space Hopper race. Now, I’m not quite sure how I managed to qualify for the final as there is video footage of me racing Mikey that does appear to show Mikey winning – however, equally I think I was robbed in the final. A desperate headlong lunge, I’m convinced, shows me crossing the line just ahead of the competition!
However, it probably did class as unsporting conduct, and the race organisers did award me a prize for second place – so I’m actually very chuffed indeed! All in all, an absolutely exhausting but very fun day indeed, so if you saw a giant Wookie on telly during Children in Need (and there were at least a couple of opportunities!), then that was me! I’ve yet to determine whether I successfully managed to do “rabbit ears” behind Des Coleman (Lenny from Eastenders!) head yet!
For those of you not part of the ubiquitous Facebook wildfire that seems to be consuming the world, then sign up and there’s lots of amusing pictures and even video footage of the top space-hopper races to enjoy! And to return to my opening gambit, people aren’t so bad, are they – indeed, some of them are absolutely fucking brilliant – big thanks to everyone who ‘phoned to pledge some money last night, we had some laughs!
My favourite moment was when a lady from Yorkshire was just hanging up the phone, I could just hear her turn presumably to her husband and say “Eeee, he were lovely!” – brilliant!