Our little salt town Northwich just loves getting involved in charity events. As an Assistant Manager, I always try to plan fun events that the whole store can get involved with and that the customers and wider community will love.
In August we held a BBC Children In Need bike-a-thon, this involved contacting the local gym and asking them to loan us an exercise bike for the weekend. We positioned the bike at the front of the store and colleagues took it in turns to cycle for a continuous 24 hours over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It created a real buzz in store and customers loved it, they kept coming up to us and cheering us on saying “keep going love you’re doing brilliantly” and donating into our buckets. We also had a ladies and gents fragrance raffle prize, which we sold raffle tickets for at the cost of £1 per ticket, the winners were over joyed when we rang to tell them the good news. It was such a fun weekend to be involved with and I’m so proud of the community getting involved and willing us on.
At the start of November, the area teams were set a challenge, this was to transport Pudsey and our area mascot “The Cheshire Cat” (from Alice in Wonderland) to all of our 15 stores. You could transport him however you wanted and were told to be as creative as you like. I got my thinking cap on and thought how could I transport Pudsey and the cat from our store to Knutsford (around 8 miles away), I wanted it to be inventive, however I needed to keep costs to a minimum. So I thought long and hard and decided to contact my Uncle Barrie who is an ex fire-fighter, he is still heavily involved with the fire service and attends show days modelling the vintage fire engines. When I contacted him to enquire whether he could get hold of the fire engine and transport us to Knutsford and back he informed me that the fire service were more than happy to get involved, quoting “anything for Pudsey!” I was so pleased that I’d been able to secure such a different mode of transport for this challenge and couldn’t wait for the day to arrive.
The day arrived, it was beautifully sunny, just what we needed for an open top fire engine, I had arranged for the local newspaper to attend and take photographs for us, whilst it was parked up at the side of our store it was creating lots of interest. People asked can they sit in and take a selfie and ring the bell on the side, all of which Barrie kindly agreed to. Once our photographs were taken, we were on our way; it was brilliantly chugging down the A556 with the wind in our hair and sounding the bell along the way, waving to everyone who went by.
Upon arriving at Knutsford we had a very warm greeting from the colleagues, they were stood outside the store cheering us on as we drove down the road.
It was fantastic; the residents of Knutsford were all taking photos of us on their phones as we rolled up. I think they were wondering at first what was going on, but our BBC Children In Need t shirts soon gave the game away and customers couldn’t wait to donate.
Then it was time for our 3rd and final event before the big telethon on BBC ONE. The official Boots and BBC Children In Need hash tag was #jumpforpudsey so I got thinking, what can we do for this event, I wanted it to be fun and inventive again like the previous events so I rang our local trampoline company Urban Air. I asked them if they would kindly let our staff in free of charge to jump for 1 hour, again, as soon as they heard it was for BBC Children In Need they couldn’t wait to be involved. I opened the invitation up to all our Cheshire store colleagues and we had a brilliant evening jumping for Pudsey, in total there were 22 jumpers, the youngest being my son of 18 months of age. For the evening I also managed to secure the Pudsey costume from the regional office, which was amazing, I roped my husband into wearing it for the jump!! I also managed to arrange for the local newspaper to attend and take photographs and feature us again in the newspaper the following week.