Tony and I have been members of White Oaks Leisure Centre in Swanley, Kent for over a year. So we thought it would be an ideal place to have the CRY cake bake and reach many people of all age ranges.
A meeting with Kevin Stanley the centre manager was more than successful. Not only did he offer us a day for the cake bake, he suggested we have as much space as we needed in the reception foyer for the whole CRY awareness week. So it was decided we would sell cakes all week along with CRY merchandise and a raffle. To which the centre supplied numerous prizes including a free 3 month centre subscription, a ten week junior swimming lesson course and several free one week centre passes, plus several bottles of wine for those not completely health conscious! Members of staff also donated prizes and our local Tesco gave a £20 voucher so we had plenty to offer.
We were thrilled to have such support from the centre but soon realised how much hard work it would be for us both. A quick email to CRY soon sorted that and before we knew it we had several CRY volunteers offering their time at different hours throughout the week to run the stand, enabling Tony and I a few hours break each day. They also offered to bake or bring cakes, which was of great help to me as the thought of baking cakes to last a whole week was daunting!
With a timetable set up for the volunteers, promotion leaflets and posters displayed everywhere possible including local shops and supermarkets, contact with the local paper organised, and spending the week before baking like a demon, we were ready to go.
We didn’t know what to expect and after a slow couple of hours people emerged from the gym, swimming pool, and different keep-fit classes passing the stand on their way out and coming over to take a look. Before we knew it cakes and raffle tickets were selling like hot cakes! It slowed down during lunch but the afternoon and evening was busy again with swimming, karate, badminton and squash clubs etc. Nearly all the cakes went, but more importantly we handed out leaflets to everyone who passed us and spoke with so many people. We were amazed at how many people knew of someone who had suffered a sudden death but had no idea of how many it happened to each week or about CRY and the help they could offer. By the end of the day we were shattered but elated by how many people had taken on board the information we had given.
Day two followed as day one and we were panicking that we would run out of cakes when a friend of Llara, one of our volunteers, called in with fresh supplies. Other of her friends did the same the following few days so along with the cakes all the other volunteers brought with them and a few extra I did we had enough to last us all week, thank goodness.
In the end we were able to keep the stand open from 9am till 8pm Monday to Friday Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon.
By Sunday we were out of nearly all the literature on the stand as well as the cakes. The raffle had gone well and the donation bucket was feeling full. All in all it was a hugely successful week raising £1,050.60 for CRY and raising awareness to so many people. More than we had imagined we would.
Our grateful thanks go to Kevin and all the staff at White Oaks for all their support but more importantly to the volunteers who gave of their time. Without them we could not have spoken to and reached so many people.
So a sincere thank you to David and Mary Crowhurst, Jan and Roger Williams, Hali Long, Clare Northcott, Ian Williams, Marie Fitzgerald and Llara Cameron from Lynne and Tony Beadle. We couldn’t have done it without you and look forward to meeting you again.