RNLI Collection Day

Beauty and the Beast- A Tale of Two Buckets…



Back on May 2nd a group of K+E volunteers came to the Bentall centre to collect for the RNLI and promote the club. There were branch members present in shifts from 8.00am to 8.00pm with me as organiser there all twelve hours…


Ian Adam kindly came early to keep me company from 8.00 when the centre opens for its catering facilities and toilets but not the shops which wait until 9.00. We needed to be there to guard the collection of beautifully made model lifeboats that has graced the RNLI display there for many years.  Around nine Andy Noakes, Sandra Argent and Gill Hassell arrived and the five of us took up positions with our collecting buckets, Gill volunteering first for the ‘skybridge’ position on the third floor where the public come across from the car park.


It’s amazing how competitive a bunch of ordinary people can get when given a plastic bucket and asked to stand in a shopping centre and tout for charity. To be fair the league table of who-collected-how-much would be unfair to draw up as some spots in the building were bound to be more productive than others. One was the base of the ground-floor escalators which, incidentally, gave Sandra a compliment she won’t forget in a hurry. When the pensioner Royal Naval Association collectors arrived at noon, one old man was very put out to find ‘his’ pitch usurped by ‘a twenty-year old young lady…’


It was an education to watch the public search their pockets and purses for change and then look up to see a choice of four or five individuals to whom to actually give it. Most small children given money by their parents understandably made a bee-line for Sandra avoiding the bearded, tattooed, hairy-legged, camo-wearing creature that was Andy standing nearby. However, as the morning hours wore on it was clearly Andy who was creeping ahead in the collecting stakes. For what it’s worth, he did, in fact, end up with the most money, although Sandra had collected more notes and fewer coins than Andy.


Before lunch Brian and Jackie Maskell arrived. Although they seemed happy enough Brian declined my offer to put them together to collect so maybe I missed something.


Gill Wilson and Kevan Tulip came towards teatime for the graveyard shift 4.00-6.00pm closely followed by Mike Ford who stayed to the bitter (I choose the word carefully) end at 7.00 when it was time to dismantle the display and load it into my car. All the models had to be boxed and packed away in the Bentall underground loading-bay which is an impressive sight as it is built to take large delivery trucks and give them space to manoeuvre. At seven on a Saturday night we were the only two present. Mike got home at eight.


The total raised was £1,687, two Euros, two fake £1 coins, a 100 yen (?!) piece and a couple of unrecognisable items of middle-European small change.


Very many thanks to all the helpers and my apologies for presenting this acknowledgement so late, but family matters have taken up what seems like most of my days recently.