Rather cleverly, both Naomi and I managed to book holidays in the week leading up to the Maggie's exhibition, so we really didn't leave ourselves much time to prepare for our first event - just a couple of days, in fact. We had a rough idea of what we were going to do, and an approximation of how we were going to do it, so we were pretty sure, albeit a little anxious, we could pull it off. Would people come? Would they enjoy the evening? Are the photos good enough to be on show?
After a few hours of last-minute preparation, with Naomi baking various canapes and me setting up at Maggie's Centres, and we were just about ready as people started to arrive. Hannah and her friend John were all set-up and ready to sing for our guests, the spread of nibbles looked rather enticing, and the Pimms was mixed & ready to serve.
Invited guests included regular Maggie's visitors and representatives from each of the charities we're supporting. We are grateful to Cathy Gilman, CEO of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, for making the trip from London to be there, to Anna Mason from Maggie's Cheltenham for all her help and encouragement, and to Sadaf Callaghan from MacMillan Cancer Support.
We were especially pleased to see so many of our 100s there. Just about all of our local participants came along, as did Lucy (Cardiff), Steve (Northampton), and Nick (London). I say it a lot, I know, but it really is humbling to receive support such as this.
Hannah and John performed beautifully all evening for us. It was the first time I'd met John, a fantastic musician who gave us his time at no charge. Hearing Hannah sing was a treat - beautiful jazz and blues through the evening to set the mood while our guests wandered through the exhibition.
By the end of the evening I'd talked to almost everyone except my mum and some friends from back home. Time flew by while I was chatting the evening away. I imagine Naomi did the same.
Sadly, I didn't make it to the chocolate brownies before they were all gone. My loss. However, generous donations made on the evening added another £300 to the fundraising pot, and that makes us all happy!
We'd like to express our utmost thanks to all the team at Maggie's Cheltenham who made our event possible. Special thanks to Anna, Graham, and Sue who stayed way beyond bedtime to help with the clear-up operation.
Lastly, thank you to Photobox for providing the prints and for spreading the word about what we're doing. The prints are gorgeous, just as we expected, and left one or two people a little teary-eyed!