Billed as the UK's biggest Halloween Party, fright night is an annual event in Sheffield City Centre which sees crowds of 30,000 (many in costume) enjoy free entertainment including bands, street theatre, costume parades, fire eating, fire-walking etc.
Last year was UKGs first time at the event and we were invited back again this year. We were told by the guys who attended last year to expect crowds - though this year the organisers had also specifically advertised our presence.
Fair to say we were mobbed all night - no time for patrols (or much movement, to be honest) as it was pretty much a case of backs to a wall, pose and turn, pose and turn etc.
our spotters and the event security did a great job of keeping the hordes under control.
This event was also my first public showing of my Fel (I don't think anyone knew who I was, but the red stripes were a godsend from stopping me fading into the night!)
A great little troop, this one.
The Toy Dept manager, Lee was very helpful, had sorted us out a secure room, free food from the staff cantine and had organised some space for photographs down in the dept. They had a Canon rep taking photos of the public with us and printing them out for people to take away - they were asking £1 with all proceeds going to John Lewis charity - Rainbows children's hospice.
They had a loop of the Battle of Hoth playing constantly on a plasma screen next to the photo area and a princess leia staff member who was signing people up for kids christmas lists (same idea as a wedding list with scanner to pick stuff etc).
They were hoping to increase the numbers of visitors to the dept, raise a bit of money for Rainbows and hopefully get 10 people signed up to the list (what they'd expect from a wedding fair).
We were busy all day, Lee took us for a few trips around the store - all the staff were happy to see us, stopped for piccies in various depts with staff and customers and everytime we returned to Toys there was a queue.
End of the day we'd raised over £200 for Rainbows and 20 people had signed up for the list so Lee was very happy.
A fair few kids burst into tears once they got within a couple of feet of us, though there were plenty running up for hugs.
The Moorgreen Show is an annual 2 day charity fundraising agricultural show. This year the UKG were in attendance on the first day...along with vintage ambulances, Fire engines, steam engines, classic cars, racing piglets (!), horses and ponies (doing some kind of competition type thing, no idea what, lot's of horsey women around though), birds of prey, donkeys and Llamas (!?).
Lots and lots of kids, dogs and stalls selling everything from energy efficient lightbulbs to custom horse saddles.
UKG was represented by 4 Stormtroopers, 1 biker Scout, 1 TIE PIlot (that'd be me), Boba Fett and a couple of Sandpeople plus our spotters and helpers.
We all met at 8am in a pub carpark around the corner from the showground (i.e. a large field) in the rain :(
However by the time we'd offloaded our kit into our marquee (which was our base of operations for the day), removed the cars off site and got kitted up the sun had come out ...and stayed out all day.
We were out on our first patrols by 9:30, as the showground was just a large field with lots of Marquees in it the ground was uneven with plenty of stakes in the ground, but our spotters did a great job of keeping us safe all day.
Loads of photo ops with kids of all ages, we'd also taken along collecting tins (for the three UKG charities - Make a Wish Foundation, NSPCC and Medicinema) - by the end of the day all three tins were getting heavy with donations from the public.
We lasted until about 4:30 before calling it a day as we were all shattered, but we'll definitely be back again next year.
UKG don't normally do birthday parties, however we made an exception for this request;
"Jimmy is a gentleman who will be 40 in Oct. He was born deaf and lost his sight at the age of 17. His family have cut away from him, leaving his workers his only family.
Until a few years ago he had no knowledge of Star Wars-he has learnt through reading the stories in braille and feeling costumes and toys.
He loved you all so much (at a previous Event),and as we are trying to make his birthday a memorable event I thought I would ask, just incase a visit could be made possible.
There will be other deafblind people there on the night plus some hearing sighted, Jimmy is very popular so we are expecting a crowd"
We couldn't turn that down so got together a Boba fett, TIE Pilot (that'll be me :TI ), Biker Scout, 4 Stormtroopers and a Jedi, and off we went to a birthday party.
One of our guys had a brain wave a few days beforehand and got a bunch of Braille cards made up with each person's costume, ID number and UK Garrison printed on it so Jimmy would know who he was feeling.
There was also an American camera crew in attendance - apparently Jimmy has been part of a few documentaries that have been shown in the States (at colleges / Universities) and they wanted to get some footage of his birthday too.
Jimmy is quite the character, he turned up with his helper dressed head to foot in pink (most of his guests also wore something pink too) and he had a very loud and infectious laugh and did all of his communicating on his left hand (I think this is called 'manual') which was amazing to see.
The organiser told Jimmy he had some guests and then gave him a 12" stormtrooper doll to feel. Once Jimmy had worked out what it was he told him he had a slightly bigger one and led him to the first stormtrooper.
Jimmy's face showed how happy he was that we were there - he then went round us all, first reading the braille card and then exploring the costumes.
One of Jimmy's friends was also a big star wars fan, he was also blind but his hearing was fine so we also lined up for him too - he had so many questions it was great "what's this bit? what does it do? are these really your costumes? These feel fantastic!".
After about 3 hours at the party it was time to go, Jimmy kept the braille cards as a memento, and no doubt we'll be back down the next time his care home has a fund raising event.
A great troop.
Our first event of the year at our home from home at the National Space Centre, Leicester, and a bit of a strange one for us.
Jeremey is having a testimonial year (i.e. organizing a number of events all to raise money for charity). the 6th June was the Moon Dinner and saw Jeremy joined by 180 guests for a Black Tie dinner followed by a charity Auction.
The UKG were on hand to welcome guests, ensure correct behaviour during the evening and to encourage generous bidding during the auction. As everyone was wearing their party clothes we didn't get quite so many people on their knees - though we did get some :twisted:
We were once again honoured with the presence of Lord Vader, and I had the pleasure of trooping with my wingman Russ again. We were also accompanied by various Stormtroopers, A Biker scout, a Snowtrooper, Boba Fett, Darth Maul and a couple of Rebel Fleet Troopers as well as 3 Jedi.