This year has been a bit of a roller coaster for me. I had never experienced this kind of loss before. (for new readers, my stepson Andrew died in a cycling incident on 5 January this year). When my parents-in-law died they were very old (92 and 93), had lived full, long and healthy lives. We grieved and we miss them still but we also appreciate the great lives they had led.
But of course with Andrew it’s been different. A life cut short, far too short. So we keep busy partly to deal with grief and our loss and partly to do something positive to make cycling safer.
We’ve been meeting council staff to discuss upcoming safety campaigns, joined a Scottish parliamentary cross party group (seriously, us. We can hardly believe it ourselves). In the next couple of weeks we will also be joining a group on road safety chaired by the Police and being part of a Road Safety campaign. It feels good to be doing something so positive.
It’s going to be a long journey or I should say journeys – both private and public. There is so much that needs to be done to make cycling safer that we now appreciate it is going to take years to make a real difference.
The Andrew Cyclist Charitable Trust achieved its charitable status last month too and we are now filling in all the Inland Revenue forms to become registered to receive gift aid and from there online giving.
With one of It’s Good 2 Give’s biggest events happening in May- Blingo- it’s been a tricky time juggling each charity’s different needs.
I may have mentioned Blingo before! It’s great fun – 250 women getting wined and dined and playing bingo – amazing prizes donated by local and national companies. No doubt about it, it is tougher to get prizes and indeed I had to give up the idea of having goody bags this year. It was just too hard to get 250 items for the bags! I actually don’t think they were missed either.
This year I believe, was our best ever Blingo. Almost everything at the Roxburghe hotel went smoothly (and the bit that didn’t – well, I was able to sort it in a couple of hours in the afternoon and besides, my perspective is so different now about what really matters) and our amazing host duo – Grant Stott and Tonya Macari- were on top form. Looks likely we raised around £11,000 which is fantastic.
My team and, I hope, our guests know that the most important thing for me is that guests leave our events, whether large or small events, saying that they had a great time and would return to an It’s Good 2 Give event. I want guest satisfaction, good value before there is any expectation of donations being made.
Next year’s Blingo is already sold out! Our 2013 Ball (at the Edinburgh Sheraton Grand Hotel) has only one table left. That leads me think that we are getting the mix right.
May and June are always good event months for It’s Good 2 Give so I am often to be found popping into events to say hello and thank you .
Any gardeners amongst you might be interested in a Plant sale event in Cupar this weekend (Sunday 10th) – I will be there all day helping the organiser, Sylvia. Sylvia lost her daughter Jennifer to ovarian cancer 2 years ago aged just 17. This is the third year she has supported It’s Good 2 Give through the plant sale. My garden owes much to this sale actually – I always come home with a boot full of gorgeous plants.
One of the pledges I made after Andrew died was that I would get back on my bike. This past month has seen me out and about much more often. I don’t mind telling you though that cycling on city roads is a genuinely scary activity. I don’t do right turns yet – have to get off my bike and walk. I haven’t done a roundabout yet either. However I have managed a few hills. I say hills you say inclines. Whatever. I did them without stopping. Ok, was in granny gear (1:1) and I aim to improve on that but still. I have even been out on the bike a couple of times on my own.
All this by way of telling you that I am going to do 51 miles between Edinburgh and Glasgow on the Pedal for Scotland bike ride on Sunday 9 September. Our team is called Pedal 4 Paul in memory of a lovely teenage boy who lost his fight with cancer 2 summers ago, again aged 17. Paul’s family wanted to fundraise for us and came up with this idea so our aim is to have close to 100 cyclists in our team. (We have 25 at the moment so if you know anyone who might join the team please send them my way).
Andrew said on 1 January that he would join our team and so although we have a half dozen cyclist friends of Andrew’s doing the ride in Andrew Cyclist Charitable Trust’s name I am doing it for It’s Good 2 Give. In my heart I will be honouring both Paul (who I knew – a lovely young man with so much to live for) and Andrew and doing myself a whole heap of good by getting fit enough to do so!
Our Kilimanjaro dates are now agreed – 2-12 October 2013 so the Pedal 4 Paul bike ride is also turning out to be great training for that trek. Cycling and walking are my two main physical activities now.
Complementing my fundraising and charity activities nicely!
Today’s quote for you
The future depends on what we do in the present
Attributed to Mahatma Ghandi