Vehicle fund blossoms thanks to flower demonstration event

When Jane Morgan (mother of Oak Trees Respite Service guest James) heard that Empanda was fundraising for a vehicle for adults with a learning difficulty using our Oak Trees respite and supported living services, she and her mum wasted no time in planning an event to help.

Here, Jane shares her event experience …

“We wanted to put together an event that had real impact and a flower demonstration with afternoon tea was an immediate thought and something we were very familiar with.

With National Flower Demonstrators Melissa Sheldrake and Brenda Tubb offering to get on board free of charge, the event was off to a really good start and the planning of  ‘Name That Tune’ was underway.

Plenty of people came together to offer support including the Headmaster at Hethersett Old Hall School who kindly offered the use of the school barn for the event. All 80 event tickets sold and donations were given to support this worthy cause from those who were unable to attend.

As the event was near Easter weekend, to help boost funds even further, I knitted a number of Easter chicks and ‘eggy people’, all hiding a cream egg. I managed fifty-five items and all sold which was a relief and saved me from eating any leftover cream eggs!

I also gave myself the challenge of making a gingerbread Easter basket which I decorated and filled with chocolate eggs so that people could guess how many eggs it held. The filled basket was the prize. A friend also made a traditional Simnel cake for a ‘guess the weight of the cake’ competition.

The day finally arrives …

After weeks of careful planning, the event was finally upon us. Work started early in the morning for the hectic but enjoyable day ahead. A small army of helpers made sandwiches and cut cakes and I baked scones. The tables were set, the silver teapots stood to attention ready for filling and the cake stands were full.

The flower demonstration was spectacular, with arrangements created to depict different tunes, which the audience were challenged to guess, with a prize for the first correct answer. The arrangements doubled up as raffle prizes. Melissa and Brenda proved to be a very entertaining team and the final display on the stage was spectacular, with so many arrangements created in different styles. I think everyone who had a winning raffle ticket must have been pleased and I can’t thank Melissa and Brenda enough for their generosity. Planning a flower demonstration as ‘a one off’ takes a long time.

Serving afternoon tea was hectic but the team proved to be highly efficient. Robert, who loaned us the silverware, was a master at filling the teapots. He had already marshalled the cars in the carpark earlier in the day and took the role of MC for the afternoon. Multi-tasking is a necessary skill on these occasions!

We had some wonderful comments about the tea. Some people thought they would just get a cup of tea and a piece of cake, not a full meal, but the best comment was from an experienced afternoon tea guest who said “the tea was better than at the Ritz” – praise indeed and made the hard work all worthwhile.

A magnificent total of £1,350 was raised thanks to the support and generosity of so many people. From the ladies who baked and donated the cakes and worked so hard on the day; the people who loaned the china and teapots; Hethersett Old Hall School; Melissa and Brenda the demonstrators; the audience and most importantly, my mum, who was instrumental in selling the tickets as she has all the contacts!

We are really pleased in the knowledge that our contribution will take the fundraising total ever nearer to reaching its target – a new vehicle for adults with a learning difficulty using the Oak Trees Respite and Supported Living services to enjoy trips out.

And so to the future …

We are now looking forward to planning further fundraising events to enhance the lives of the people who use Oak Trees. I can’t thank the staff enough for the wonderful service they provide.”

Jane Morgan

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