TEAM HJA has been on form from start to the impending finish. For those of you who haven’t been following us on Twitter or seen our Just Giving page, or laughed at our musical money box jingles at Euston Station this morning, we have prepared for you a synopsis of what we have been up to on this magical adventure that they call the YLEA Challenge.
February kicked off with the incarceration of HJA’s Head of Clinical Negligence Department, Julie Say. No one anticipated how much Julie was up to the task. She allowed us to plaster the walls with pleas for her bail, emails to her colleagues, friends and family…and she even provided us with her crime: ‘for huge unpopularity and cracking the whip far too often’ - her words not ours!
That month we also grabbed some pans, and showcased our ‘flipping’ talents during Pancake Day. We went all a la carte, providing savoury and sweet fillings to tantalize the taste buds (‘Mushroom and Spinach anyone?). Labour intensive but very fun. We stank of oil and pancake mix for the rest of the day but we wore that scent with an air of pride.
Patrick Allen doing his time in the HJAil in June
March started off pretty raucous with our wine tasting night. Fear not, we had the experts come in from Oddbins who hosted the evening and even included a wine-related quiz, with poise and patience in spite of the crowd of jeering, intoxicated laywers. Our connoisseur lost his voice in the process but he recognized it was all for a good cause and left largely unaffected (we think). Cheese was on the menu so the team went all out and made up some cheese platters with crackers, grapes, chutneys, and a few olives here and there. We aim to impress.
That month we also fit in a traditional bake sale (if it aint broke…) We thought the crowds would like the Easter Celebrations to continue way after the Easter Bank Holiday, and they did. We gave away a Peyton & Byrne voucher to the baker of our fastest selling baked good – a quintessential carrot cake.
April was suave and sophisticated with an informal piano recital by Clare Hammond. The team set the recital up in HJA’s bar like a jazz night. We’re talking candlelight, tables and wine flowing. It was all rather grown up and Clare wowed the crowd with her talent.
May was very admin based. So, alongside accosting local businesses for raffle tickets, accosting our senior partner to agree to being sent to HJail, accosting a man with a boat to let us use his boat for our final event (free of charge), and accosting a lovely pub to allow us to use their screening room for free, we spent time re-hashing our plans and seeing what was realistic and what was not.
With all the madness of HJAil and bail, pancake flipping at work (in front of everyone), an eventful wine tasting evening, getting way too enthusiastic about the set up for our piano recital, the team reveled in getting back to basics…so we did another bake sale in May too. Why on earth not? Somehow, the bakers got slightly more competitive. We even had a giant tray of giant Cornish pasties. We were not complaining.
Wine tasting evening
May also brought with it the added challenge of research, formulating effective arguments, finding some functioning filming equipment, and not appearing entirely stupid in the YLEA Moot. The team secured their academic thinking caps on and whacked on the formalwear one usually keeps for special occasions. We sent off that DVD to the LLR offices with a huge sigh of relief.
It also brought with it recognition for Team HJA's fundraising efforts and achievements. It was a glamorous affair, with an open bar for 35 minutes after the awards ceremony. The party went on until 6.35pm. This is how we roll.
June has seen us back to our fail proof fundraising event, this time with a prisoners’ hat and handcuffs *appropriate?* and with our very own Patrick Allen agreeing to let us put him in HJAil. One would think people would refrain from donating just to see Patrick fulfill his forfeit (to perform a 24 hour piano marathon) but alas, the cause was too great to prevent the donations from pouring in. Patrick had such fun in prison and upon his release he embraced each of his prison officers with great gusto. Not your conventional prison set up we know.
This morning 3 members of the team went out with their red tees (left - the observant amongst you will notice one of the team went as far as to colour coordinate her shoes and yes, she did look like a red blood cell) in to the big wide world of Euston Station for a cash collection. We met some lovely folk, some of whom shared their stories of how they have been affected by Leukemia and Lymphoma. The 7.30am start was well worth it.
This week brings us to Team HJA’s boat party with raffle and silent auction prizes to knock one’s socks off. Guests will receive a classy cava cocktail on arrival, and will be spoilt for choice with a smorgasbord of bar snacks. The aim of this event is to tear up the dance floor on the lower deck and have a fine time. The weather is likely to be a scorcher so, ahoy there!
Our final week ends with a film screening in a fancy pub, showing a Ryan Gosling film ‘Gangster Squad’. Discussing the film choice went a bit like this: ‘What film would appeal to all?’
‘Ryan Gosling for the girls’
‘Gangster Squad has a bit of violence in it too…and Emma Stone’
We have become imbued with YLEA and LLR fervor and we’re having an absolute laugh. TEAM HJA over and out (for now).