2014 Beechy's 'Back to School' Bash

Sat 15 Feb 2014

In aid of St Giles School

Amount raised:  £1417

Running total to date:  £29985

Another fund raiser for the lovely students at St Giles school - so what could be more appropriate than having another total blast from the past and turning up in our school uniforms??!

But not just as students of course - we were expecting the head teacher (obvs!), a stern deputy head mistress - or a harassed school secretary (depending on her wig!) [it turned out to be the school secretary in a very bad wig!], some more teachers, the school caretaker (secretary and caretaker - most important people in ANY school!), lollipop lady, dinner lady - and of course LOTS of school children in all shapes, sizes, skirt levels and uniforms!  

The monies raised this time will be used for communications equipment for the classrooms to help those students who have little or no speech or who have serious hearing impediments.  These aids give the child a degree of control in that they can press a button on a machine which will then activate a short sentence to say something such as 'Can I get the register please?' - enabling them to express themselves to others.  Once again a very worthy cause.

Our regulars will know that we like to have a little display (well a big one sometimes!!) in the foyer as everyone comes into the main room, so we thought that it would be nice to have a proper classroom there this time.  And so it all began...

As always we get so enthusiastic that we are often planning the next event before the previous one has taken place!  Quite useful really as it means that we can beg/steal/borrow any props or items that will be needed.  And that's just what happened this time...

Whilst picking Lola (youngest grandchild) up from her primary school -  St Andrew's in Ramsbottom, way back in the autumn term of 2013 - I had noticed that a classroom had been refurbished and all the old desks - proper lift up lid, old fashioned wooden double pupil desks - had been stacked up under a covered walkway at the side of the classrooms.

'Ooh' I thought 'Just what we need for our school charity do'

'Aah' I thought 'But how would I get one of those over to Retford from here'

'Umm' I thought  'Actually I couldn't even get it a mile up the road from school to home as it wouldn't fit in the car!'

'Oh well' I thought 'Nice idea but leave it to the family over the Pennines in Retford to sort out.'

So that was that.  And I watched as the pile of desks slowly dwindled over the coming weeks and months....  By Christmas time there were only a few desks left.  I said to myself that if they were there in the new year then I would ask about them.  Well they were, so I did!

The school secretary didn't bat an eyelid when I asked if I could have a desk - but that's school office staff for you (been there, done that...) - so used to dealing with everything that they take it all in their stride! I told her and the headteacher what it was to be used for and they were fine about it.

Next step - transport!  Luckily Mark (Luisa's partner) has a large van as part of his 'Man and Van' and furniture shop business (bit of advertising there, but not much use to the Retford lot over the other side of the Pennines as it is in Prestwich, Manchester!) so he agreed to pick it up.  At the school they let him take all of the final five desks which were left - some of them a bit broken and more dilapidated - but just what we needed.

So we then had five double desks stored in our garage!  (Not a problem until I forgot that they were there and couldn't work out why I was having so much trouble reversing the car out until I realised that I had knocked a desk lid off and was taking it out with me!  But that's another story...)

Next step - transport from Manchester to Retford!  Robin (brother) was coming across the following week to pick up some beer fridges from Rochdale so he agreed to call round and take the desks back with him.  Luckily he too has a big van! (more advertising - VARR brickwork - great for Retford but not much use over here in Manchester this time!)

Robin came in, looked at the desks and said - 'What about small chairs to go with them?'  and opened up his van with a flourish to show us a dozen or so small plastic pupil chairs which he had spotted whilst picking up the fridges!  They had apparently belonged to some small judo club which was closing down - so Robin had bought them!  What a coincidence!  Our school room was obviously meant to be!

So we were ready to rumble!  But firstly a few thank yous - to St Andrew's Primary School in Ramsbottom, Lancs who donated the tables, to Mark for stage one of the transport, to Robin for stage two of the transport - and also for the small chairs (thanks also to the judo club in Rochdale for closing down at such a fortuitous time for us!)

So our poor bruv not only had to collect the tables and chairs, he was also stuck with storing them for us until needed (good job he built his super shed!) - and there was also the matter of the blackboards - 15 small and one large - which needed making...

Several days before the event these were all still works in progress - they were looking great - but our bruv, having had a couple of months' disruption, was looking forward to getting them finished and getting his shed back!!  Luckily they were all finished in time and looked great on the night.

So another very big thank you to our bruv who has done most of the work for this event - lots of hammering, nailing, painting, cutting and gluing to make all the small boards and of course the big blackboard which hooked over the mirror and really finished off the look in our 'classroom'!

Once the little table boards were finished they were handed over to Jules for the final touch...

And she even texted me a picture of one she written me a message on before she went to bed! My siblings have taken to calling me the 'elder' or 'senior' because yep, you've got it - I'm the oldest!

And look - she's got her Valentine's card and flowers in the picture - what an old romantic Beechy is!

But one last thing before we go to school - did anyone spot the mistake on the tickets this year?... (everyone scrolls back to the top of the page...) - was it deliberate or not??!... hmmm.....

And now it's time to say....

Our scene was set and the main room was ready - small black boards and sweets on the tables, lots of posters and artwork from St Giles students on the walls (more of that later..) and of course Beechy's disco - to be run this time by a student (Beechy Minor) who was being trained up by the great Sir Beechy himself.

Julie sat down on a small chair in the middle of the stage - we weren't sure if she was having a quiet moment to admire her handiwork - or waiting for a game of musical chairs to begin!

The desks were in our foyer classroom, complete with books, pens, pencils etc and a lost property box and sports equipment.  

It all looked great with the huge blackboard at the side - our bruv even put a little shelf on the bottom for Julie's chalk and board rubber!

So everyone started arriving for school!...

There was the Headmaster in his robes and the school secretary (in her bad perm!)

Then we had the lollipop lady (in yellow poncho and wellies) ready to direct everyone to their tables - and of course the caretaker who managed a mean mop!

They all enjoyed a drink at the bar - Beechy Minor included (is he old enough to drink??!) - while they waited for the rest of the staff and students..

The lollipop lady crossed everyone over safely to their seats... 

And she then turned her sign round and took full advantage!

Skirt lengths were checked - just as they used to be done - usually by kneeling on the floor to see how many inches they were above the ground.  But now it's the getting up afterwards that's the problem...

We even had an authentic school case bought in by     - complete with original contents.  Most impressive!

Then it was time for the school photo...

or perhaps it should look more like this...

Did you notice that the lollipop lady did a quick change to become a school girl?

More of the staff and students from St Beechy's school...

The nit nurse checked out her lotions and potions in case they were needed - and the other school nurse checked out my eye which had been poked by the lollipop lady! 

Pauline and some of her posse...

And of course no school would be complete without a bit of childish, smutty humour...

Any resemblance to Mrs Brown is purely coincidental!
We asked Connor why he wasn't in school uniform.  "It's a non-uniform day" he told us.  Top answer Connor! 10/10

School dinners were served...

As all five siblings were present we decided to do our usual photo - in age order as normal... and as usual it was like plaiting fog trying to get them all together and then all looking in the same direction!  Much like herding school children really.

But we managed it eventually - well sort of, with Julie in her usual hiding pose...

The secretary's handbag came in very handy for separating and storing the money as we had forgotten our usual cash bags (think they'd all been used for dinner money...)

It was very useful to have the different compartments so that the money could be kept separate until we counted it.  They don't make bags like that any more...

And as was mentioned before the students at St Giles school did some paintings and artwork for us to display on the walls.  Here are some of them...

Pauline - the lovely lady we liaise with from the office at St Giles talked a little about how the children had made or helped with some of the paintings.    The first one was made by a group of children and showed a collage of their activities and some of the items that they use on a daily basis as part of their communication and mobility aids.  An inspiring piece of work!

The second piece of artwork was a giant pencil - made from pencils and crayons - really bright and colourful.

This was made by three pupils aged 2, 4 and 5!  Some of the pupils are unable to sit up or move very much so they contributed by having their hands held in place so that they could help to press the pencils, crayons and tissue paper onto the glue.

The third piece of artwork showed Snow White and the 7 dwarves - with the words spelled out in Makaton.  Pauline explained that Makaton is a language programme which uses signs and symbols to help students and staff communicate. 

It is designed to help support spoken language and these signs and symbols are used with speech.  All staff at St  Giles are encouraged to learn Makaton.
These three wonderful pieces of work were given by the school and pupils to be auctioned off and once again our generous event attendees did not disappoint!

The one above was bought by Kelly Bloom.  Our sister Cathryn and her Gate Inn gang bought this one...

and Steve Haith bought this one...

Many thanks to all of you - the magnificent sum of £170 was raised on these three items alone!

As our regulars know, we don't have a raffle at this smaller event.  All we have is one game of stand up bingo (sort of back to front bingo for those who don't know what it is!)  Our winner this year was Ralph Dukes who most generously gave back the whole of the £50 prize money.  Thank you very much Ralph.

And, depending on our props which as I've said before we buy, borrow or make ourselves, we sometimes sell them off to swell our funds still further - after all, what are we going to do with 15 small blackboards??!... (sorry bruv - we know that you worked hard on them..)  So the desks, chairs and blackboards were sold this time. 

Thank you to everyone who bought them - and can we just say that Beechy will accept anonymous donations (through his door or at the Elms) for  the yellow hockey stick from the stand in the foyer (borrowed from a school) and the couple of blackboards which went AWOL at the end of the evening.  We realise that it was probably just pupil high jinx but all we can say is that school children shouldn't be drinking alcohol if they can't handle it!!

So after our delightful school dinners it was time to let our hair down and dance the night away to the great sounds of Beechy Minor's school disco - under the watchful eye (and mop and bucket) of the caretaker who wanted to keep his floor clean... 

Beechy Minor was sporting some non-regulation laces in his shoes.  They flashed!  Tricky to capture on camera..  But he escaped detention as he was working so hard on the decks.

And he kept the crowds on the dance floor with his school disco classics.

 I don't know what happened with these pictures but the effect is nice!

Of course our ageless/timeless stalwart dancing queens were there strutting their usual stuff (with the caretaker keeping a close eye on them in case he had to mop up any drips or spillages!)  I asked one of the ladies why she wasn't in uniform and she said that it was being washed - but that she'd got a note from her mother!!

And just like at all school discos from when time began - students (and even the staff) were giving each other the eye then pairing up and copping off!  

The secretary copped off with the headmaster.

This dubious character (Paula for the night!) copped off with the nit nurse - although he was later seen in a clinch with the caretaker! And quite frankly he was enjoying his school girl costume far too much...

More happy couples - copping off or otherwise -  from the evening..

Look at that - our little student nurses - proper students! 

It was a poor event for wigs - hardly anything going on this time!

Although I do think that my cousin David and I must go to the same hairdressing salon for our perms!

 Strangely enough Carol wore a wig for the first time that we can remember - and Julie didn't!  Although Carol's wig lasted for only about 5 minutes and then she was soon back to her normal wigless posing.  I eventually took mine off too as it was tight and itchy - don't know why I kept the glasses on though - it's not a good look!

I had a brief flirtation with a lilac wig while Julie and Robin tried on my secretary look.  I must say that I think it suits Julie and in fact I can remember her having her hair permed like this when she was about twenty!

I'm not even going to mention that someone there thought that my secretary hair was my own! (Oh - I just did!)  Or that Julie nearly wet herself telling me that this was how I was going to look in a few years - I just mentioned that she was only a few years behind me...

We passed round a comments book and let everyone write on the blackboard...

Aaaaaahh - sweet!...

Your aunties love you Connor! xxx

Oh yes I  totally agree - that school secretary was good, 
wasn't she?!

Thank you all for your wonderful comments!

It's nice to get a bit of feedback and know that you enjoy everything and feel that you are getting good value for money.

But once again I have to say that none of this would be possible without  your support and enthusiasm.

Please don't forget - there are more pictures at the top of the page - just click on 2014 to see them.  

We are also very happy to include your pictures if you want to send them to us. 

So - to the class of 2014 - a huge THANK YOU!

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