Tony Britton, Fundraising Manager, ME Association.
Remember this? Brows furrowed in concentration, neighbours sharing tables in the warm glow of a winter night, beer in the belly and a short for the ladies. This was a pub quiz – and this one was rather special.
The Black Swan at Burn Bridge, Harrogate, was the scene of one of the best pub quizzes of the pre-Coronavirus era at the end of February. The MEA Ramsay Research Fund benefitted to the tune of £1,895.
The organiser, the ever-stylish Amanda Sladdin, remembers the night and all that led up to it fondly and with pride.
The former fashion design student, who owned a vintage clothes shop in Nottingham city centre before M.E. wiped out that part of her life over 20 years ago, said:
“In my darkest days, I vowed that when I felt better I would do my bit to raise money towards research.
“And I want that money to be spent preferably on finding a diagnostic test, as I find the battle against stigma, about whether or not you are really ill or whether it’s all in the head or not, has become tedious. Unfortunately, the debate hasn’t moved on much since then.”
Amanda, who went down with flu-like symptoms which never really went away on the very first day of a trip to Australia in 1999, initially decided to organise a fundraiser for ME Research UK at her own home last November.
After mulling over ideas for a while, she eventually hit on the notion of a cake sale, roped in friends and neighbours, sent out invitations on Facebook and texted everyone in her phone book.
“I got a great response and ran the sale over two days. I also bought a job lot of Christmas goods at an auction and sold some of those along with Christmas cards”, said Amanda, now the mother of two young children, aged seven and 10.
On that occasion, she raised £750 for MERUK – her only outlay being the cost of the Christmas goods, a book of raffle tickets, tea and coffee and the cake ingredients.
Then, at the end of February, came the turn of the MEA Ramsay Research Fund and the pub quiz which she combined with a raffle. Amanda talked first to the pub landlord.
They agreed to sell tickets for £15 and he included a fish
and chip supper at a fabulous price. A friend designed an eye-catching poster
which went up in local shops and flew round Amanda’s social media. The biggest
lure turned out to be the size and scale of the raffle prizes.
After what she called “a couple of knock-backs” from traders who were just not interested in helping, Amanda toured retailers and services she uses regularly and ended up with a goodly selection – a free ride aboard one of Blenkhorn’s boats at nearby Knaresborough, a hamper using a donated Fortnum and Mason basket (just the basket, a few F&M leftovers and other goods slipped inside to add variety), a spa afternoon at Rudding Park, afternoon tea at Fodder, a free MoT voucher from her local garage and a free golf lesson at Wyke.
The pub quiz she thought would pull in just 20 people attracted 100 people on the night with Amanda persuading partner Steve to ask the questions.
“I thought I might just manage to round up my two events for research to make £1,000 but the Black Swan night, added to selling a few bits and pieces on eBay, means the total is now around £3,000! That’s way beyond what I thought would have been possible.
“Everyone really enjoyed the night with lots of people asking me about M.E. And, even though it was quite tiring, I did enjoy organising it all and I have this sense of having done my bit for the cause at last, motivating people to help out and ultimately for the benefit of people with severe M.E.
“When times are right again, I would encourage others to do a little something, however small.”
Help and Support
How you choose to help the ME Association is entirely up to you, and we are incredibly grateful for any support you can provide.
We are here to help with whatever you decide to do.
Contact our Fundraising Manager, Tony Britton, if you want to discuss any fundraising ideas or require support for your event. Telephone: 01406 370293 or 07946 760811 or via Email.
The ME Association
Please support our vital work
We are a national charity working hard to make the UK a better place for people whose lives have been devastated by an often-misunderstood neurological disease.
If you would like to support our efforts and ensure we are able to inform, support, advocate and invest in biomedical research, then please donate today.
Just click the image opposite or visit our JustGiving page for one-off donations or to establish a regular payment. You can even establish your own fundraising event.
ME Association Registered Charity Number 801279