Our event every year at Houston House, in my opinion, is unique in charity events. Why? Because every single person involved is doing it for the right reason. The head chef at Houston House, Jeremy Wares, has Parkinson’s. Everybody at that hotel stages the event to the best of their ability because of Jeremy. It isn’t just a venue we have hired and the staff look at it as yet another charity dinner. It’s the same for the event organiser, Lynda Forrest, she puts her heart and soul into it because we have been friends since the first Wobbly Banquet. It is brilliant. And from it came weekend with the cast of Emmerdale.
Two weeks have now passed since the Emmerdale team touched down at Aberdeen airport. 2 weeks have passed since we staged a weekend of events which won us many new friends and created new opportunities to deliver cures for neurological disorders. Two weeks have passed since the greatest spectacle the Wobbly Team have ever been involved in unfurled at Thainstone House Hotel near Inverurie. The Wobbly Banquet II.
The event was staged by George Walker Events, George is a lovely guy who embraced what we do and how we do it. Like me he is the billshit front-end, with Jenny Walker, his very own Maisie, in the background doing the work. Like me, George, is the biggest critic of his events and think it’s fair to say we learned a lot from that night but feedback from the people I know tell me the truth was that it was our best event ever. Here’s how it went.
The guests arrived to be met by a school orchestra from Inverurie playing outside the hotel. They were guided to the ballroom for the drinks reception where the Aberdeen Rock Choir, 100 strong, were in full voice belting out classics. I would estimate of 400 guests approximately forty of them were dressed in the Wobbly Tartan. It gave the event a brilliant visual effect.
Half way through the drinks reception The Spinal Chord acrobat came into the room, and gave a breathtaking performance of hand balancing. Wobbly standard had been set.
We were called to dinner in a marquee which you looked down from the hotel on to. The way was guided with a picture of Eric pollards face on a lady’s body.
The marquee was magnificent. When everyone was seated George arrived on a Honda Gold Wing and brought the cast of Emmerdale in, they were seated in 5 tables up the middle of the marquee. They are genuinely nice people who posed for photographs and said nice things about me.
George introduced me and I spoke about having Parkinson’s, discovering Steven Gill, the original GDNF trial and the trial of the Frenchay delivery system for treating cancer in children’s brains which Funding Neuro is raising money for. What struck me was the room was silent as I spoke. The effect was extraordinary, we had a continual barrage of people coming to discuss what the charity does.
We played hats on – hats off, a game where people had to make a 50-50 choice whether the next Emmerdale cast member would appear in the photograph wearing the hat or holding the hat. Everybody was given a wobbly tartan flat cap to play the game. It was very good, raised £4000 and allowed me to poke some fun at George Walker who is larger-than-life but smaller than Bambi.
The meal was spectacular, very different menu including fillet steak Stovies.
The acrobats can back midway through the meal for another performance and then we were straight into the Emmerdale cabaret. Cast and crew belting out floor fillers. Absolutely brilliant.
Then it was my turn again. Well, after a cameo by Eric and Val Pollard introducing George Yule, the deputy chairman of Aberdeen football club to give George Walker a child sized Aberdeen football Kit and telling him he will grow into it.
George will remember all these jokes. Revenge will be sweet
I spoke about tumours and treatment of tumours using the Frenchay delivery system. As is the case on these occasions, people expect misery from the charity to drive their hands into the wallets. In my view a shortsighted approach to raise a few more quid. I played the game to a point however discussing a child with a brain tumour, a child with a life expectancy of 9 months. I described what she went through to have the operation and then said:
“Tragically, 8 months into the nine-month journey, she received the news she was dreading.
She was going back to school.”
We don’t do misery at Funding Neuro. The room erupted and I introduced Steven Gill the first time. The standing ovation was heartfelt and long. Steven spoke eloquently and in simple terms. It was amazing. The video will follow shortly.The room was silent for him. He received a further standing ovation when he sat down.
Steven’s words meant the auction raised a huge amount of money, £40-£50,000. Unbelievable. We received a further £20,000 in an anonymous donation.
The rest is a blur. Many great things came out of it. But that is for another blog.