One of the most effective ways of helping us raise money for charities for the visually impaired is to ENTER THE EVENT and GET SPONSORED. Could you help?
We know it’s far easier not to bother, but why not make the extra effort and become that something extra special: a sponsored player.
The sponsored player who has raised the most money in recent years is KATHERINE HORTON. She raised almost £1000 (WOW!) and wrote this enjoyable account of her experience:
Two years ago when my husband suggested a long weekend away, I had visions of a romantic few days in Venice or a cultural break in Barcelona… what he actually had in mind was a visit to his old academic stomping ground and a trip to the real ale tent at an event called the World Conker Championships!
Oh me of little faith!! We had a wonderful day at the Conker Championships: it was great to see the friendly competition, the beer tent was well worth a trip and there was a ready supply of ice cream – everyone knows that’s the key to a girl’s heart. My worries that the event would be rather twee and slightly embarrassing were quickly turned around: the opening ceremony was a spectacle in itself, all the competitors were having a great experience and the spectators were whipped into a frenzy by the crazy master of ceremonies. We quickly decided that we would be back the following year and would be taking part as well.
Upon receiving my application forms the following year (2004), I realised that you could enter the competition as a sponsored competitor and raise money for charities for the visually impaired. I felt that the novelty of the event would ensure that people would sponsor me so I decided to enter on that basis.
I contacted my family, friends and colleagues explaining what I was planning to do and asked them to consider sponsoring me. After reassuring everyone of my sanity, the sponsorship offers came flooding in, sponsoring me for taking part rather than on how far I would progress through the competition (which with hindsight was a good thing considering my rather dismal performance).
On the day, despite following a comprehensive training programme prior to the event, I was knocked out in the first round! I will not use the fact that I was 4 months pregnant (and my sense of balance had not caught up) as an excuse nor blame it on a duff conker but am happy to accept I lost to the better player.
After displaying the photographic evidence of my performance, the sponsorship money and taunts at my poor showing rolled in. My employer generously matched my sponsorship, so I was able to raise almost £1,000 in total. This money has gone to a range of causes selected by the Conker Club committee.
Despite my husband and I both being knocked out in the first round last year, we are back again this year. Ben is determined to redeem himself after losing to a Frenchman last year and Isobel (now 5 months old) and I will be there as the dedicated cheering squad.
I cannot recommend playing conkers at the World Conker Championships enough and by taking part as a sponsored player you are not only having a fun day out but are ensuring that others benefit at the same time.
Above: Katherine Horton in the 2004 World Conker Championships