Posted by Mary Millar on 07 June 2011
We had a wonderful Members’ Day at the beautiful Alnwick Castle and Gardens on Saturday 4 June and, in true Northern fashion, whilst the sun didn’t shine, no-one’s spirits were dampened.
Robbie and I set off from Edinburgh early on Saturday morning, for a very easy two hour cross-border drive to Alnwick. Clear roads all the way! Shirley, who was travelling from Bristol had a much more gruelling time – her journey took nearly 8 hours, with several traffic jams en route. Needless to say, Shirley travelled up the night before to ensure she could meet the Scottish contingent at Alnwick ‘early doors’. The three of us gathered at the deserted ticket office at crack of dawn (or so it seemed) well before the castle and grounds were due to open. This gave us plenty of time to set up our welcome and awareness area in the Atrium - right in front of the impressive Grand Cascade. Then we were ready to display our full range of literature, as well as an array of tee-shirts, pin badges, watches and DVDs for sale, plus free balloons, stickers and sweets for the children.
Members from Scotland and the north of England were encouraged to pop in and chat to us, in-between visiting the castle and grounds at their leisure. By all accounts Alnwick really was a star attraction and there was enthusiastic feedback on the beauty of the gardens and the historic interest of the medieval castle, complete with dungeons, knights in armour, skeletons and dragons.
Whilst members were off ‘doing their own thing’, Shirley, Robbie and I busied ourselves raising awareness with members of the public, giving out symptoms cards and doing a collection. There were only short gaps in the day in which to grab a coffee or a bite to eat, and Shirley and I were highly amused when Robbie elected to have a ‘Kids Snack Box’ for his lunch – a very balanced diet of a tiny roll, a carton of juice, a small apple and a minute piece of cake – all in a little box shaped like a house! Us girls had a far more ‘carb-rich’ lunch – perhaps explaining why our hips are bigger than Robbie’s!
We were delighted that so many members came along and heartened to see such an enthusiastic contingent from Scotland - many of whom had a made a weekend of it all to enjoy other treasures of Northumberland. It was lovely meeting everyone in such relaxed surroundings, and having the opportunity to chat in depth.
Thanks to all of you who signed our Counting the Costs of Meningitis petition
supporting the introduction of vaccination against meningitis and septicaemia. We are making good progress towards the 10,000 signatures we need to present to 10 Downing Street later this year. Please tell all your friends and family to sign up in support – word of mouth, email and Facebook will help spread the word.
Once again, thanks so much to all who attended. If you have any comments about the day, please add them to this blog!!