2012 Fundraising May Fairs

The Karaoke Heats are on . . .

Davy Humes sent along these delightful images of a Karaoke Heat in action at a local pub, in response to my plea for images of Lions activities from 2012 onwards. I like them because they’re so of the moment.

Not a huge crowd, perhaps, but fun nevertheless. I think it’s these sorts of images, fuzzy, blurred and full of life, that help to encapsulate the ambience of those times. The great thing about the Karaoke Heats, so many of which I missed, was the developing buzz, the sense of enthusiasm looking ahead to the final in the square on Fair Day. And that sense was such a wonderful word-of-mouth promotion that today’s facebook PR cannot quite replace.

But times do change, and what worked well back in the late winter of 2012 might founder a decade or more hence. Isn’t it a delight, though, to remember those times, even while everything as I write is in the final frenzy of preparing for the 2023 Allendale Fair (ie the 22nd of July!).

2012 Fundraising

The Proper Boys

I can’t remember helping on this gig, but it’s most likely that I was behind the bar, so I may not have heard much, if the gig was as busy as it promised to be.

To be fair, although the Lions installed the bar on the other side of the New Hall for the good of the community (and especially the village hall itself which benefited rather dramatically from the increased revenue), these promotions evenings also had a potential to raise funds for the charitable purposes espoused by the club. On this particular evening, I would have been wearing a metaphorical Lions hat, but I’d also have made sure that a reasonable bar fee was extracted from the profits to help support the village hall as well.

Apparently, from a careful reading of the minutes of the business meeting following this gig, 5th March, 2012, the evening was a great success, and everyone involved was effusive in thanking each other. The consensus was that this kind of event should be built upon. Perhaps there was too much of what some felt to be self-congratulation, as emails praising this and that individual were filling up members’ mailboxes, causing some consternation. Our role, it was agreed, was to serve, rather than to pat ourselves on the backs for the effort.

Nevertheless, we were all delighted to have generated a profit of £768.66 on the night, which boosted the charity account to just over £5k with a few outstanding expenses. With the funds in hand, we agreed that a budget of £2500 for this year’s Allendale Fair would be acceptable.

There was, however, an intriguing historical footnote tucked into the Publicity Officer’s report at this March ’12 meeting. After due consideration, while recognising that the preliminary promotion of the Proper Boys gig on Facebook may have contributed to the general buzz about the event, we decided that a Facebook page was not for us, but that we would concentrate on our own website. It would, apparently, take several more years before we Lions decided that we could be ready to face up to social media!

2007 Fundraising Public Service

Thanks Hilary

When Peter Aldcroft first became President of the Allendale Lions Club, throughout 2007, 2008 and 2009, he initiated a series of team building awards, presented often in batches, framed, to the recipients at a business meeting. For whatever reason, Nigel Baynes seemed to have collected perhaps a first draft, or first print prior to framing, of all of these awards. I wonder if perhaps there was a colour printer in the Baynes office, and Peter tried out his ideas there, before presenting the final award? Nigel, being Nigel, may have kept a copy for his burgeoning treasure trove of memories.

Anyway, there are some 20 or so of these various awards in Nigel’s copious archive, and these copies will be intercalated, ultimately, into their appropriate time slot during Peter’s term. Since I only found them sometime toward the end of my perusal of the various folders and envelopes I’ve been entrusted with, they’ll all be presented out of sequence in the regular blog, but by editing of the calendar, I should be able to get them into the right places thereafter.

One of the first such awards was made to Hilary Aldcroft for her perseverance and diligence in organising the schedule and rota for the annual Santa’s Sleigh tours around our local area. That was a job, often unsung, until Peter invented his awards.

At the time, the Allendale Lions toured around Haltwhistle, Bardon Mill, Haydon Bridge, Allenheads, and Allendale. Perhaps at some point there was an issue of territory, as a neighbouring Lions Club laid claim to one or another village for collecting. But whatever issues arose, there was always the question of logistics, of getting the sleigh sorted, or arranging the Elf rota for the collecting tins, and in general being on top of things. A perfect storm, in other words, and not for the faint-hearted, so the award was well-deserved!

2012 Burns Nights Fundraising

New Business . . . 2012

The first set of minutes that I can find for 2012 are those of our Business meeting of February. It seems that the main topic of the evening concerned two of the Lions’ promotions: the annual Burns Night just gone, and the forthcoming gig at the village hall with The Proper Boys.

As I recall, I pushed the envelope, rather, to create a song book and programme for the evening celebrating Robbie Burns, and populated its pages with a variety of iconic Burns memorabilia. This image shows the witches cavorting as described in the immortal Tam O’ Shanter.

The report at the Business Meeting suggested that a great time was had by all, sure enough, with the piper, the food and the planned extra space for dancing much appreciated. The main discussion, however, dealt with the issue of payment for the caterer. Essentially, the problem seems to have been that the matter of costs and labour had not been specified, so that the free-flowing cash distributed on the night (eg from bar takings) for the waiting-on staff was not properly controlled. Since the caterer was not part of the Lions Club, but had been taken on to give the catering Lions a break, a few communications had broken down. It was hoped that these matters could be resolved in time for the next meeting. Prue, however, was pleased with the brown envelope raffle and reported that this new system had worked very well, eliciting more cash than usual.

The consensus in the Club was that the whole financial apparatus surrounding Burns Nights needed to be tightened up, so this would doubtless be a priority for next year. It’s also fair to note that the balance of the Charity Account, after the Burns Night do (but possibly before all outstanding invoices were paid) stood at £4,359.79, so that there appeared to be a reasonable amount of money in the coffer with which the club could go ahead with plans for the May Fair, and charitable donations.

Another potential money-spinner for the Charity Account coffers, however, was the upcoming Proper Boys gig, which marked a new venture for the Lions Club, also to be held in the village hall. Apparently the promotions were well in hand, but to break even some £600 would have to be raised (tickets were going at £10 each).

There was some consternation within the club over the advance publicity circulating on facebook. News had reached Allendale of event crashes when similar events had been publicised on the new and emerging social media. Our media-savvy members agreed that they would look into the facebook issue and report back at the next meeting.

2011 Fundraising

Great North Air Ambulance: Cheque #2

What was that we were chatting about, an entry or so ago? Slow news month at the Hexham Courant? What better way to fill the pages than to present the same photograph, with the cheque holders slightly re-arranged, as a new news item!

No doubt there were rather a few chuckles from the Allendale Lions, by the end of that August, as the redundant publicity keep coming in, over and over again!

We can be grateful, too, that Nigel Baynes saw the humour in the repeated photograph, and carefully saved both for posterity.

I may not have been correct in terms of where the money for this year’s cheque to the GNAA came from, in an earlier entry, but I’m quite confident that the second photograph was not, was most definitely not, a second tranche of money. No, no, no. It was the same money, announced for the second time!

I wonder if successive central governments may have caught on to that gambit? Certainly there were accusations flying around, throughout the 20-teens, of deliberate presentation of funding as ‘new’ when in fact the news was merely recycled from previous funds.

The local answer, of course, was not that it was all a devious ploy. No, it was just our beloved local weekly, in its characteristic way, bumbling along nicely, thank you.

2011 Fundraising May Fairs Public Service

Great North Air Ambulance: Cheque #1

The Hexham Courant’s District News pages for the 5th August, 2011 issue, featured another cheque presenting opportunity, as Margaret Stonehouse, Chairman of the Fair, and Richard Snowdon, President of the Allendale Lions, showed off the funding said to have been realised from that year’s Fair (that would have been the Noddy one).

I can’t remember a May Fair ever raising such large amounts of cash, and yet the reporting may have been correct. Certainly the raffle was a big money-spinner, always, and the revenue from the stalls and the karaoke was consistent.

Moreover, by the beginning of September, the Charity Account funds still stood at £3,572.49, as reported by Treasurer Doug Ness, and that was after the cheque had gone out to the GNAA, but before the annual Charity Auction which always raised in the region of £3,000+.

I rather suspect, hand-on-heart, that the GNAA cheque of 2011 was a carry-over from the fund-raising efforts of the previous year gone.

2011 Business Meetings Fundraising Golf Classics Public Service

Golf Club Classic: Presentation

In what must have been one of his first official acts as the new President of the Allendale Lions Club, Richard Snowdon looks delighted to be presenting a cheque for £600 to Cancer Research UK, along with members of the Lions, and Allendale Golf Club.

It’s good to see such smiles, too, from everybody seated around the table in the lovely clubhouse. Not everyone was named, in the accompanying blurb, but it’s important, I think, to recognise Norman Harris in his golfing gilet, in between John Dobson and Colin Wraith. To Colin’s left, of course, Doug Ness and Peter Aldcroft gave excellent bracketing smiles as well.

According to the Business Meeting Minutes #86 (September, 2011), carefully noted by Secretary Irene Ness, there had been some consternation between the expectations on the Golf Club side and the Lions’ wish to generate funds for the cancer charity. Following discussions with the Golf Club, it was agreed that the proceeds of the Classic should be split 50/50 between the Golf Club and Cancer Research. Apparently, the matter was smoothed over because the proceeds from the bar on the day had exceeded expectations (quel surprise!), so that the photo opportunity and big cheque, when the Lions had topped the donation up, came to a similar amount for each concern. Whew!

I like perusing the minutes, in these circumstances, because with a little effort they reveal something of the social history of a community, how folks adhere and work things out together.

2010 Business Meetings Fundraising Lions Social Events Public Service

Welcoming 2010

We’ve already mentioned the completion of the Village Hall bar, in the last entry of 2009 (as re-configured ex post facto in the blog calendar). So the first meeting of 2010 was important for looking ahead, Janus-like, after reflecting on the accomplishments the club had achieved over the past year.

Plans for the annual Burns Night supper seemed to be well in hand, for example, with previous events so well-subscribed that apparently we’d had to turn applications away from neighbouring clubs! We maintained the courtesy, for this year anyway, of inviting Lions clubs from around the region.

Graham Girvan notified the meeting that the Spanish wine-tasting evening two years previously had been such a success that it was thought to be a great idea for this year’s Charter Night, ostensibly to be held sometime close to the actual anniversary of the first Charter Dinner in February. [I remember what actually transpired, on the second occasion, with the chagrinned wine profferers slicing thinner and thinner pieces of cheese in a desperate attempt to accommodate hungry diners, for an egregiously under-catered event!]

I distributed the second version of the handy ‘membership information’ cards I’d designed, with explicit contributions to various organisations shown, as examples of ‘what we do.’ That concept was kiboshed, so it was back to the drawing board for iteration three! I so wish I could dredge up an example of these handy wallet-sized cards, but I cannot find head nor tail of them. Perhaps the whole concept was consigned to the round file.

On the Community Service front, the Christmas lights festooning trees around the square would be switched off before 12th Night, and the new Best Garden plaque, for the Horticultural Society to award, was admired.

Hilary Aldcroft wowed the group with the reveal that some £1,077 had been received during the past season’s Santa’s Sleigh, which had included a rather thrilling Santa in the Snow up at Allenheads, made possible only by the borrowing of Nigel Baynes’ Land Rover. Graham had been a great Santa!

Apparently the Hexham Courant had not published photographs taken in Allendale on the occasion of the Carol in the Square event, nor even the Tar Bar’l parade, so everyone hoped that the next issue might have some further images to delight.

John Dobson, Webmaster, described how he was setting up an email list[serv] so that Lions members could conveniently distribute emails to everyone with just the one address.

It was time to take a drinks break, to share in the card draw which raised £19 for the General Account, and then, with no further business, to toast Elsie Eye.

Err, that’s the Lions Club Internation, LCI, in case anyone hadn’t remembered.

2009 Business Meetings Fundraising

Business Meeting

Since there appears to be only the one set of minutes extant from 2009, it makes sense to feature them in the blog!

The most salient bit of information, I think, at this meeting was the report from Ann Potter that she alone, running for the Alzheimer’s Society in the Great North Run, had raised over £1000 pounds! Such a brilliant effort! We were all so proud for her.

Meanwhile, money in the Lions’ Charitable Account was getting relatively tight. Doug Ness, Treasurer, reported that there was some £3,671 available (mind that this was after the Beer and Bands Festival a couple months earlier, and the annual Charity Auction in September!), of which we needed to ring-fence £2000 towards next year’s May Fair. Meanwhile, there were four funding requests awaiting the Lions’ Board Meeting to develop proposals.

Fund-raising efforts over the next few months would be concentrated on Bonfire Night (which typically managed just about to break even), the growing Book Stall to be staffed at the Mini-Market in the village hall, and the Santa’s Sleigh twirls throughout the region with the elves shaking collection tins.

It seemed possible that we needed to re-consider where our best efforts on behalf of the community might be positioned, but with the Bonfire Night only days away, it would be all hands to the deck as new volunteer food preparers and servers were brought in.

And Santa’s Sleigh would be occupying our efforts after the Book Stall shifting had taken place, so there was lots to be getting on with. Just that nagging reckoning that we weren’t bringing in much revenue for distribution to good causes, lately, and what could we be doing about that?

John Dobson reported, with a nod to publicising what the Lions have been doing, that he had taken over the website and would be giving a demonstration of it at our next meeting. And the reports on the pub walk to Haltwhistle, which seems like a rather long trek, suggested that a good time had been had by all who participated.

Apparently there was a break in the meeting proceedings then, as members refilled their glasses from the bar, and there must have been a kind of conversational buzz thereafter because no further business matters were discussed.

Finally the regular toast to LCI (Lions Club International) was raised, and the next meeting, the first Monday of December, would likely see a de-brief on the Bonfire Night activities.

2009 Beer Festivals Fundraising

The Beer & Bands Festival, 2009

The eponymous Beer Festival had been re-branded, this year of 2009, in an attempt I suspect to attract more folks to the event. I don’t know whether the re-branding exercise was deemed to have been successful, or not.

Certainly we all agreed that the Show Ground was the ideal place for such an event, with loud music all afternoon and into the early evening, yet unlikely to disturb too many neighbours. And the opportunity to share the marquee(s) with the Agricultural Show Committee, on the Sunday right after the Show, was too good to pass up.

If I’m not mistaken, this was the year that the lager and cider on tap foundered. I remember this because I borrowed the dispensing equipment, including gas valves, from the village hall bar. Whether the products were too old, going off, or the gas pressure was just wrong and the anti-fobbing devices weren’t working, or whatever, all we could elicit from the fonts was foam. Copious lashings of foam. In the end, we had to retreat to offering chilled cans of Fosters, but to be honest, nobody really seemed to mind. It was just embarrassing to me.

Meanwhile, I believe the barbecue and food service was doing a good trade, and of course the original point of the exercise, showcasing of fifteen real ales from nine breweries, held true. And the bands played on.

I wonder, placing myself in the perspective of 2009, if we’ll be able, as Lions, to keep going with these Beer Festivals, if the financial return is not commensurate with the effort. If the fund-raising is not substantial, I can see that this event might be something that falters. The Tynedale Lions hold an annual Beer Festival in the Corbridge Rugby Club grounds, where they serve some 115 different real ales, and offer many bands for entertainment over an entire weekend. This festival elicits dozens of thousands of pounds in revenue for the club.

We hoped for some significant fraction of that return, but as I recall we never reached more than perhaps a tenth. The friendly bus service put on for the afternoon was not well subscribed, I do seem to remember that dismay.

Well, we’ll just have to see how things turn out, shall we?