One week on from our trip back to Royston Vasey, I thought it was time to reflect on the day. I am however battling a raging cold brought on by a Hepatitis A booster I had on Thursday for my upcoming holiday, so bear with me if I’m incoherent.
I’m starting to think those anti-vaxxers might not be raving lunatics after all.
Anyway, it was pissing down as I made the 45-minute journey to Chelsea’s house for our much-anticipated League of Gentlemen fundraiser.
It’d been an early start and with my overnight bag in tow, I was excited for the day ahead; although I’d hoped for less aquaplaning on the way. Little was I to know that dampness would be a theme of the weekend.
Arriving at Chelsea’s there was plenty to pack, with enough raffle prizes and unofficial fan made goods to fill my car boot. There was a lot to talk about as we made our way to Hadfield – the real Royston Vasey. Both of us had questions; will people turn up? How many raffle tickets would we sell? Why didn’t we pack all the requisite stationery we’d need for the day?
All would be revealed when we arrived.
Allison was already there along with a couple of other locals including my mother, who’d managed to drag herself to the meet-up despite suffering for three days with norovirus and being wracked with concern that she might shit herself at any moment.
As Chels, Allison and I began getting things ready including a makeshift ‘local shop’ to sell our wares, my mother was keeping the other locals entertained with stories of past family illnesses.
“Alyssa! Remember our Steph’s headlice?”
We manoeuvred some tables and set up our raffle as well as dishing out the quiz and colouring sheets. I was amazed and proud of how many goodies Chels had managed to gather to give away and couldn’t wait to get started; especially when I saw the stacks of food that Edward’s had prepared for our buffet…
Slowly but surely, more locals arrived, amazed by the number of precious things on sale. As soon as everyone had gathered, we started stuffing our faces and getting to know each other a bit. Some of us had travelled for six hours to be involved which put my couple of hours to shame; all the while I just hoped the day could live up to the anticipation.
As we lingered about eating, a man wandered in who (like a few others) I didn’t recognise. It transpired it was John, a local photographer sent by the Glossop Chronicle to take our picture for the paper. I’d contacted them a few days before with a little trepidation, putting my PR abilities to good use. By which I mean I sent an email.
Astoundingly, they responded within 10 minutes of receipt. Lauren, a reporter, was keen to cover our good work. Before this I wasn’t sure whether the appetite for Vasey was still alive with anyone other than us die-hards but sure enough, a charitable cause is always viewed as worthy.
We shuffled on down to the Hadfield cenotaph with a distinct nervousness hanging in the air. Being awkward types by nature, no-one was really dying to have their photo taken. While I’m happy to co-ordinate such things I’m usually less than happy to be in front of the camera, preferring instead that any photos taken are from above, by me, with many Instagram filters applied; but John did a great job of rallying us.
Despite the rain, we decided to proceed with the walking tour of Hadfield, although I stayed behind at Edward’s to tear raffle tickets and keep an eye on the precious things. We would round up the day with the raffle and even though I wasn’t able to enter (it was unfair or something) it’s always nice to see others happy with their winnings.
The day ended with smiles and armfuls of prizes and soon our attention turned to loading the car up and making our way to the Travelodge in Glossop where we’d be staying overnight. We’d anticipated drinking heavily so a hotel felt the best option.
The lady on reception was more than understanding when we enquired about borrowing a tin opener so we could tear our way into the donation tins and count our cash, although I suspect her initial thought was that we were eating beans out of the can. Checking in we all agreed that the one thing that made us happiest was each having our own rooms – sharing with each other was not something any of us desired and we all breathed a sigh of relief that after a people filled day we’d have a bit of quiet time.
We sat in my room wittering and trying to decide what to eat when there was a knock on the door.
It was the manager…
“I think we’re going to have to move you. The ceiling has collapsed in the corridor”.
She wasn’t lying. It was quite literally raining indoors, a few feet away from where I’d planned to be unconscious later that evening.
We queued up at reception waiting to find out where we’d be moved to and it soon became obvious that the three of us sharing a room was now going to be the only option. Sadly for Allison, her earlier boast at booking a cheaper, family room with three beds was something she’d soon regret.
In spite of our Titanic-like drama, we still managed to make it out for a pizza with Sarah, Nicola, Hannah, Sally and Julie-Ann (equally enthusiastic fans) before retiring to enjoy our close quarters; and by enjoy I mean waking up five times during the night with back pain.
All-in-all though the weekend was a roaring success made even better by the acknowledgement of Reece Shearsmith himself – a true gentleman if there ever was one!
Now it’s time to get ready for what’s to come. I don’t think any of us could be happier with what we’ve achieved. And this is just the start…