The conversation went something like “Hello, I need a marquee.” The reply was “That’s ok. For how many and what’s your budget.” “About 40 people. Er… there’s a problem with the budget. There’s isn’t one.”
I expected the phone line to go dead. But to my amazement, Richard from Storer Smith Events laughed and told me to go on. He wanted to know more.
There followed a somewhat embarrassing account. I was organising my first ever fund-raising event. I’d failed to keep track of ticket sales. Now there were 46 people coming – and the venue could only comfortably take 25. I was having sleepless nights. People were going to turn up for a posh afternoon tea- dressed in their Sunday best. What on earth was I going to do?
There was a silence on the end of the phone. Then a sigh. Then the words, “Well, I’d better help you out then.” I don’t think I have ever been so relieved. My bacon had well and truly been saved.
Richard – I’ll forever think of him as my knight in shining armour -saved the day. He provided a 6m by 9m marquee, with carpet, tables, chairs, and also a monster (almost) fire-breathing heater – complete with gas. A team of workers to put it up- and take it down. All free of charge.
Thanks to Richard, we had a fabulous marquee for our vintage afternoon tea- all in aid of Rainbows Hospice. We enjoyed a wonderful talk and slide show from celebrated author Barbara Segall who was speaking about her newly-launched book, Secret Gardens of East Anglia. I wrote a review about the book here . Gary from Rainbows talked about the wonderful facilities and work at the hospice for children. Such a heartwarming, inspiring afternoon.
We served six types of posh sandwiches, and tomato and thyme tarts. Followed by a mountain of cakes, mostly made by my wonderful Mum. And gallons of tea in pretty mismatched china.
It all worked beautifully and I’m pleased ( and mightily relieved ) to report that we made almost £1,000 for Rainbows.
I’m so grateful to Richard for his kindness. It is a relief to know that wonderful people like him still exist when there is so much bad news in the world.
There’s a whole roll call of people to thank for helping to make the event a success. But chiefly, I want to thank Richard, for his kind and generous help. Also Barbara Segall, who refused a fee for her talk. My friend Alison Levey from blackberrygarden.co.uk blog who fetched, carried and was fab at selling raffle tickets. Geary’s Craft Bakeries provided the bread ( thank you Charles Geary). The co-op at East Leake supplied the fillings for the sandwiches. The Printers in Loughborough provided posters and tickets.
For the goody bags for each person who attended, Lady Ursula at Easton Walled Gardens provided 50 complimenatry tickets to visit the gardens. Burgon and Ball gave me beautiful tins of string. Mr Fothergills gave me packets of flower seed. Cooks Lane Herbs gave me gorgeously-wrapped, wonderfully-scented handmade Red Clover and Honey Soap. Seedball sent tins of wildflower seed.
For the raffle, books came from Alison Levey, Frances Lincoln (Quarto Homes) publishers, wine from the Round Robin, East Leake, flowers and plants from Googie’s Flowers , East Leake, calendars from The Calender Club, Loughbrough, Chocolates from Thorntons. Six Acre Nursery at Costock gave a lovely hellebore plant.
The photos are examples of marquees provided by Storer Smith Events. As you can imagine, I wish everyone would now rush out and book him up for the next 10 years. Such a good-hearted soul has won my loyalty for life! Contact Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone 01889 563200. He’s at Uttoxeter ST14 5AP but supplies marquees all around the country.