Archive for November, 2013

I perhaps should confess that I had never heard of Old Down Manor a few weeks ago! But then Blossom’s friend Candy the Pink Hyundai changed her Facebook profile photo to one showing her parked outside a fabulous venue – Old Down Manor.

So, I googled Old Down and read all about the Manor, the Country Park, the Bistro, the Cafe and their forthcoming Christmas Fair.  It all sounded so fabulous, that I took Blossom down to Tockington (South Glos) to find out more. Well lunch was a massive success – you probably saw my tweet? I loved the tiny Pigmy Kids and the Manor House looked amazing – at least it did from the outside! I enquired about the Christmas Fair, explaining about the Pink Car Rally Charity Calendars and they kindly squeezed me in!

Blossom was gleaming when we left this morning and positively preening by the time we pulled up at the Manor House. After unloading all things pink, I parked her in prime position in the carpark, so she could show-off all day. I laid out my pink wares and took the opportunity to look at all of the other stands, before the event started. They were absolutely amazing! I had been placed opposite Barefoot Portraits at the far end of the room, and I have to say that watching the photographer at work was absolutely magical! Mandy managed to engage with each and every child and evoked the biggest beaming smiles I have ever seen. She must be totally exhausted!

Promoting the rally at Old Down Manor

Promoting the rally at Old Down Manor

I spent most of the day asking people who approached my display whether they knew about the Pink Car Rally…. “No”… Needless to say, they do now! Then the pink tide turned, when a couple said “Yes – you were at Bradley Stoke last year”. We were indeed!!! We had a comfort stop there, during ‘The Big One’ – our epic End2End Pink Car Rally. They made my day…. but then it got better…. people were giving me donations, buying calendars, someone mentioned they had some hair to donate, someone else mentioned that they knew a teenager who might like one of our wigs, I met a lovely wig maker and had a big chat with her…… and the pink icing on the cake???? I met the lovely Gemma….. who recently received one of our wigs!!!!! Hello again Gemma 🙂 What a wonderful day!  I was quite sorry to pack my pink things away – I didn’t want to leave! I returned to find Blossom being admired by two beautiful girls, who were having their photos taken next to her. She looked very happy indeed and had had a lovely day too – her friend Candy had been and they had managed to spend some time together.

I have been home long enough to count the money raised today and to my surprise (and delight) it totals £79 – so big thanks to all who contributed 🙂

So…. the Festive Fair at Old Down Manor really was full of surprises….. and not just Christmas ones…..

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I’m busy planning the 2014 Pink Car Rally Fundraising Campaign and I have decided that we need a Pink Car, as 1st  prize in our Special Pink Raffle.  Now, I realise it’s a BIG ASK, but my glass is ALWAYS half-full…. so all I have to do now, is to find a company which has a kind heart, values what we are trying to achieve, loves the work of the Little Princess Trust Charity.. and ‘hey presto’ –  decides to present us with a Pink Car to raffle!

Now… let me just turn my hat around and look at it from the other perspective. Being both a volunteer and a business coach enables me to look at a situation from both sides.  The first consideration to any commercial company is the ‘what’s in it for me?’ factor. Sadly, the simple fact that they are helping a charity doesn’t cut the muster! I understand that. I also realise that most commercial companies seem to prefer to donate to the ‘huge’ charities… which of course gives them good press coverage, recognition and appreciation from the public, to name but a few ‘benefits’.  

However, I would argue the case for a small charity, where such a donation could make an incredible impact – the benefits to the donor company could be greater than they could possibly imagine.  For example, I use every possible minute of my spare time to promote the Pink Car Rally, and any business which ‘helps and supports’ us is thanked very publicly.  The best illustration of this is the story of the Pink National Express Coach:-

In 2009 I entered National Express’s ‘Bling My Coach’ competition, whereby people were invited to design a livery for one of their coaches and say where they would take the coach, if they won the competition.  I was one of 5 finalists, whose designs went to public vote.  My design was pink and incorporated the Little Princess Trust Charity’s logo, together with the Pink Car Rally website address. The public voted and soon the two front-runners were Action for Children and the Pink Car Rally and believe me, we were ‘neck and neck’.  It was incredibly stressful!  Now, if you look at the Action for Children website, you can see that even in 2009 their annual report mentioned 12,000+ volunteers and supporters (huge voting potential) and ‘millions of pounds’ raised through fundraising.  The Little Princess Trust, at this time, might just have recruited its first paid staff member!  And the volunteers could probably be counted on 4 hands! Fearsome competition and yet we won! So how on earth did we do it? Sheer determination and the power of social networking! The coach was duly wrapped pink and joined the 2010 Pink Car Rally, carrying pink passengers.  It became part of the main National Express fleet, owned by their franchisee Yeomans Travel, Hereford, and could regularly be seen on the Hereford, Gloucester, Cheltenham, London route and in fact, was only recently ‘unwrapped’.  National Express and Yeomans Travel kindly continued to support the rally for another two years, by entering the pink coach in the 2011 rally and in two legs of The Big One – the 2012 End2End rally.

The coach became a much-photographed, travelling advertisement for both the charity and the rally.  Needless to say, we were incredibly grateful to National Express and thanked them publicly, many times.  In addition, we mentioned the National Express Pink Coach in every press release, during every radio interview, on our Facebook page, on Twitter, on Linked-in, whilst giving our ‘charity talks’, during networking events….. at any and every conceivable opportunity.  In 2011, the Head of Media for National Express told me that their stats showed that we had generated an unsurpassed level of publicity for them.

So…. I’m looking for a Pink Car, for the 1st Prize in our Special Pink Raffle.  Please can you help me to find one?  And if anyone should ask you “what’s in it for us” you will be able to tell them “more than you could possibly imagine.”Image

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I have had a very productive week, in terms of Pink Car Rally awareness raising. I worked hard to produce an ‘all encompassing’ press release (yes, I know it’s very long, but I figured journalists could take out the bits that they particularly liked, or the pieces which were more relevant to their target audience). As usual, I read & re-read the release, before pressing ‘send’….. so why oh why didn’t that awful typo jump out at me? <blush> Don’t you just HATE making mistakes? I know I do…. but it’s like that email which has circulated for years, which is a piece of text where the letters in the words are jumbled up, so technically the writing should make no sense… and yet we are able to read it, as if the words were spelt correctly!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I managed to tell the world that Pinkies Nadine and Tania had ‘horrible bottoms’ in 2012 😦 To my knowledge, they didn’t, but they did both have a horrible year, which is why I organised a 6th Pink Car Rally and took it to Nottinghamshire, where they both live.

For those of you who might be interested in the press release, I have pasted the corrected version below….

Pink Car Rally races ahead with another record-breaking year of fundraising.

Whilst many small charities are feeling the pinch in this period of austerity, pounds have been pouring out of people’s purses, across the UK, in support of the Pink Car Rally’s innovative annual event, to the extent that 2013 fundraising total already exceeds the record-breaking 2012 total.

Sali Gray, organiser of the Pink Car Rally explained “I created the Pink Car Rally as a five-year programme, to raise awareness of, and funds for, the Little Princess Trust charity, which gives ‘real-hair’ wigs to children and young people throughout the UK and Ireland, who have lost their own hair primarily through cancer treatments. The 5th rally, last year, should have been the final one and in fact we called it The Big One. We drove from John O’Groats to Land’s End, and having split the country into six legs, we took six days to complete it. We raised an astonishing £16,067.06 which funded nearly 46 wigs. I decided to organise a 6th rally after two of our regular Pinkies missed The Big One.  2012 was an annus horribilis for sisters Nadine and Tania, with Nadine developing cancer and Tania having a serious motorway crash, whilst on her way to meet the rally! So I organised a 2013 ‘2 days – 2 destinations’ rally and took it to their home county of Nottinghamshire on day one and then to Peterborough on day two. Never in my wildest dreams did I envisage that this year’s rally would raise more money than The Big One, but to date it has already raised £17,018.90”

With so many households having to drastically cut back on non-essential items, what is it that makes people want to donate to this event and how did a small group of pink car enthusiasts manage to raise so much money? Sali strongly believes the secret is ‘pink passion’. “We are very active on our Facebook page and now have over 3000 ‘likes’ from people in 45 countries. I think that is an indicator of the pink passion that is spreading across the world. I have been asked whether it would be possible to organise Pink Car Rallies in several other countries including America, Canada, Germany and Australia. There is just something about pink cars that strikes a chord with people. Once we have their attention, we tell them about the wonderful work of the charity. Losing your hair is a traumatic experience at any age, but especially so for children. People can relate to that and want to do something to help fund these beautiful wigs, which can be washed and styled because they are made from ‘real hair’.”

Will there be any more annual Pink Car Rallies? “Oh yes”, said Sali without a hint of hesitation, “how could I end on 6 rallies? I like ‘neat numbers’ so there will have to be 10 and besides, there is a lot of the UK and Ireland that we haven’t been to yet.  Next year’s rally will be on the 6th & 7th September and I’m planning a route to encompass some of the Home Counties.”

In the meantime, Sali is keen to find a few more people who might be willing to make a donation. “I am really delighted that the 2013 Pink Car Rally Fundraising Team has raised so much money, but I would dearly love to raise another £481.10 because £17,500 would fund 50 ‘real hair’ wigs, which would be amazing, both for the charity and because I really do like ‘neat numbers’!”  Donations can be made via www.justgiving.com/sali-gray-2013-pink-car-rally

 

 

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It is far too long sine I last Blogged, so my November resolution is to Blog more frequently! And what better way to start than to tell you about our latest fundraising initiative! Last weekend we launched our 1st ever Pink Car Rally Calendar, which can be purchased via our Facebook Page  see ‘Notes 4’ at the top of the page and will also be available to purchase, later this week, via our website. Payment is via paypal and the cost is £7.50 which includes postage and packaging to any UK address. We are happy to sell calendars to our followers all over the world, so if you would like to buy one but you don’t live in the UK, please contact me advising how many copies you would like and where you live and I will let you know the additional postage cost. Thank you. All money raised from the sale of the calendars, once the printing cost has been deducted, will be given to the Little Princess Trust, to help fund ‘real hair’ wigs for children. Thank you for your continued support.

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