Kate D

11 July 2012

Kate D is stepping down as our fundraising coordinator. She has done a great job in helping people organise events, providing what they need and boosting our income. We will really miss her but she is going to continue to send out post and Moshi Monster things (MM kindly donate 100 magazines a month).

We very are grateful for all she has done and wish her all the best in the future!

Kate D running the raffle at the Post Pal party.

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Party smiles 2012!

06 July 2012

On Saturday the 30th of June we had our annual party and as always it created a lot of laughter and some rainbows (tears and smiles at the same time) for many of the older guests.

As the families arrived most children dived straight onto our inflatables, a Harry Potter castle (in Post Pal purple colour), Peppa Pig ball pool and a 2 story slide which ended up in constant use!

The wonderful Johanna from Octopus Parties returned (kindly donating her time) who was going to take the children on an underwater adventure however they were enjoying her face painting so much she spent hours transforming children and teenagers into tigers, butterflies and beautiful rainbows, there was even some magical Harry Potter designs going on! Courtenay decided to go with something a little different…

We gathered outside to cheer postman Adam on, some people got to the party by car or train, Karen took a Ferry but Adam decided to walk, however he lives in Kent, a massive 21 miles away!! He set out at 6am in order to make it to the party, Megan and Elleanor held the finishing line ribbon and we all gave him a big cheer when he arrived. Please sponsor Adam so he can reach his target of £500 for Post Pals, his sponsorship page (its like JustGiving) is here.

Eleanor and Megan holding the finish line

After lunch Singing Hands came along, they sing and sign and had all the children taking part with dancing, musical instruments and rainbow wavers. Children of all ages sat there enjoying it and joining in, then a miracle happened – our Pal Holly S started opening and closing her mouth and moving her hands with the music! Holly is 10 and has never done that before or used he hands so she gave her parents an amazing surprise and we couldn’t be happier for them (needless to say we have already ordered the Singing Hands DVDs for her and Singing Hands will be booked for next year).

Just after the songs had finished a loud beeping came from the car park, who could it be? We all went out to see who was beeping the horn, it turned out to be a camper van with a special guest in the back.

Yes Peppa Pig! Peppa greeted the children, gave lots of hugs and then took part in the big Peppa treasure hunt. Rhyming clues had to be solved, arrows followed, the slide climbed and the next clue grabbing on the way down, flower beds checked and finally treasure found hiding in the ball pool (it had been carefully guarded by Karen and Eleanor). Everyone who took part got a special Peppa rosette and a Peppa activity pack, even Spotty Dog had one. After more hugs it was time for Peppa to say goodbye but before she went she spent a little time with Daisy (who wondered where George Pig was, had he been naughty and had to stay at home?) and Singing Hands. If you know Daisy you will know her two favourite things in the world are Singing Hands and Peppa Pig and for the first time she had both at the same time!

We had lots of craft activities, swaps tables and nail painting planned however everyone was just enjoying running around sliding and bouncing in the perfect weather so those activities will wait until next year, even the adults got in on the fun that the kids were having.

Our raffle was the biggest yet with fantastic prizes which everyone was eying up, people knew what they wanted to win, none as much as William M though who was very taken with the Thomas play dough set, he hid it so no one would pick it however when his ticket came out the play dough was so well hid none of us could find it! Finally it was located and William went home very happy with his prizes as did everyone else. Thank you so much to everyone who donated items or contacted companies, everyone was thrilled and won several things so we decided to send the remaining prizes to the children who couldn’t come to let them know we were thinking of them.

After the raffle came cutting our lovely button cake (we had enjoyed purple cupcakes earlier from Heaven is a Cupcake), the cake had 9 candles on. Each candle represents 365 days of smiles. 9 X 365= a huge amount of smiles. Thank you to Lucy Lou cakes and Cat for making us the cake.

The most significant time of the day was our annual forget-me-not balloon release, a balloon released for every Pal we have lost. The balloons have the child’s name, dates and condition on, along with instructions to scatter the forget-me-not seeds inside and the quote “It’s not how long a star shines, what is remembered is the brightness of the light”. Last year a balloon was found in a cornfield in France and another on a mountain side in Switzerland, so far this year one has been found in Essex, I wonder where the others are? It was filmed and you can watch it here.

Some families went home armed with wonderful party bags, Moshi Monster goodies and posh chocolates while others stayed to play longer (Viks and Eleanor had wheelchair races and Daniel tried to fulfil his ambition to go down the slide ‘infinite times’, I actually think he might of succeeded if we hadn’t only hired it for a day!).

Sadly not everyone could be there, Kate W and Kate D weren’t well enough, nor were some families and volunteers, however a group of them had a virtual party on Facebook together.

Lots of the families at the party said how much peoples kindness had touched them and that the post has really helped, Emma’s Dad said when she was feeling really poorly from chemo in hospital even just seeing her name on the envelope would make her smiles. Other families said how fantastic the party was, one family said they don’t feel they belong anywhere and there daughter is normally excluded from things as people can’t see past her disability but at the party they could relax, belong and make some lovely memories. Another volunteer said that the party is the only place she has ever been too where everyone else looks after and out for everyone else.

Words can’t sum up the day and all the special moments that happened so I will let the smiles say the rest.

I wish I could thank everyone who contributed, donated, helped or came along to the party but I couldn’t possible list them all, however a few shout outs to Jill and her daughter Gracie who did a lot of work in the lead up to the party as well as on the day plus Jamie who picked people up and put up with having their house filled with prizes, Debbie and her girls who hadn’t even heard of Post Pals until the week before but came along early and worked so hard the entire time, Barbara and Fred who came along as guests but every time I saw them they were working, Catherine for a trip to the farm shop and her son Nico for his brilliant swaps idea (I know Tyanna was very happy to swap with him), Denise who went way out of her way to get cupcakes to us despite very little sleep), Susan who ‘helped’ Peppa, Steph and Andy who organised Singing Hands and made sure the camper van was refurbished in time for the party (Peppa’s visit was their idea), Pearces bakery for the big discount in the wonderful buffet, Moshi Monsters for the goodies which went down great (the extra things are being sent to families to make them smile over coming months) and not forgetting Trustee Jan who did so much, her dog Bra Tac who was good as gold and very popular and my parents Dawn and Trustee Steve who as always do so much for Post Pals (and put up with me filling the house and sending them all over the place all year).

I’m sorry I can’t thank everyone, however I’m sure the children’s faces say the biggest thanks possible!

William M told Jules (Daisy N’s brother) he was sad to be leaving and Jules replied “It’s only 365 days until the next party, if you think about it, it isn’t that long”.

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