The Collection

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There was a call out for emergency volunteers and I was quick to respond. One of the basic things you can do as a volunteer is to do a bucket collection. This was what was needed on this occasion. Pudsey bear was on the back of a rickshaw travelling to Buxton and Children in Need needed volunteers to meet him. Going to Buxton was the furthest volunteering opportunity I have had to date but I was offered a lift so I agreed. We got dressed up in our fundraising gear. Pudsey T-shirts over our coats because it was freezing cold, Pudsey ears on headbands and a high visibility waistcoat. They would definitely be able to see us coming. My Pudsey ears were brown so I don’t think they were Pudsey ears but the new girl Pudsey. I would say girlfriend but I’m not sure that they are dating. I was told her name was Blush. Seems a strange name although not more so than Pudsey. We set off on our journey to Buxton. The rickshaw we were meeting was being ridden across the country by a group of young people taking it in turns who had difficulties in their lives mainly due to illness or disability. They were travelling from Macclesfield to Buxton for their overnight stop. As we chatted my car companion joked about what would happen if we got stuck behind the rickshaw accidently. No sooner than she had said this than we started to slow down. There were people staring out of their windows, one person I noticed was on a step ladder. Children were dressed up, some as Pudsey and others as princesses. We could see flashing lights ahead. You would have thought Madonna or Beyonce was up ahead by the way people were reacting but no we were behind the rickshaw. People were looking at us like we were the part of the entourage. With our ears and waistcoats we looked like we were.  Well at least we knew we hadn’t missed them.

We were behind them for a while and it looked liked we might be stuck behind them the whole way to Buxton at the rate we were going. We eventually were able to turn off and cross a very foggy hill to get to Buxton. As we passed the rickshaw I shouted out of the car window, “See you in Buxton Pudsey”. When we arrived at our destination we weren’t sure where we were due to stand and wait until we saw the glow of other fluorescent waistcoats in the distance. It was obvious that the rickshaw had a way to go so we had a tea and waited for our collection buckets to arrive. Several people had turned up to volunteer and there were representatives from Rotary Club and Ladies Circle. After our tea we collected from the people waiting and from the Mayor of High Peak who was very generous. One man offered to sing a song for us for a T-shirt. I am not sure he had thoroughly grasped the idea of fundraising.

The rickshaw was still delayed and with that hill to climb and that fog I wasn’t surprised. We went out into Buxton town to collect some more donations and met a group of people who were stood on a street corner. They asked us when the rickshaw was coming. We explained they were stood in the wrong place. One man was so relieved that he gave us a large donation. Collecting money and providing a public service, we were doing well. We went back to the meeting point. When we got there the man who’d offered to sing in a T-shirt was singing in a T-shirt. Once he’d finished we all had our pictures taken with Pudsey just before the rickshaw arrived. I got the feeling that Pudsey was a bit like Santa, you weren’t ever sure if you’d met the actual one. The crowd lined up and we cheered as the rickshaw arrived. It was lovely for the young people who had cycled so far to be greeted like heroes. Matt Baker from the One Show had been cycling with them and thanked the crowd. My friend shouted, “Is that Richard Bacon?” I politely told her that that was someone else. People from the crowd got his autograph and had pictures. I asked him if he would give a donation to Children in Need. He laughed as he walked away. The crowd dispersed and the once noisy place became quiet. I had raised £120 in my bucket to add to the grand total. We got in the car and laughed all the way home; about the foggy night that we went to Buxton for a yellow bear, harassed the mayor and Matt Baker, all for a good cause.