Do you see what I did there? Yes, it’s a terrible pun, but what’s the point of having a blog if I can’t use the kind of headlines I would never get away with at work?

A month on – do you see a theme developing on this blog? Who’d have thought my entire career is based on meeting deadlines – it’s about time I gave you a rundown of Ted’s big birthday extravaganza. We posted the final raffle prize on Wednesday so it seems fitting.

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The Fabulous Fundraising Fete…

They came, they saw, they ate cake, they tombola’d (new word alert), they bought tickets for the never-ending raffle… And they raised £1,922 in the process! Round of applause to you all.

It was the most exhausting yet touching day. A bit like a wedding really, where all your bestest friends and family turn out for you and you barely have time to say hello to them, even though you are rushed off your feet and never stop speaking to people. Where does the time go? Who do you talk to?

We didn’t quite realise what a behemoth we had created until it was too late. It was immense and hectic and, at times, a bit weird. Like when the early birds would not let me have another few minutes, even though I was clearly massively stressed and still trying to get it all set up, before selling the tombola tickets. Or when one of the completely pissed locals kept going home to retrieve a load of unwanted but well-intentioned bric-a-brac – dirty ashtray, anyone? Old storage jar with cut up photos in?* ‘You can use the lid as an ashtray’ apparently. Great stuff.

*funnily enough, this kind of bric-a-brac didn’t sell so well. Interested parties are welcome to rummage in my shed for potential treasure. (There is none.)

I barely saw Ted on the day, trusting that some of the many friends and family would be entertaining him while I manned the beauty stall and felt bad taking money off anyone. Not really the idea, but I think we did OK. Luckily someone remembered to feed and change him at least once, so he was happy.

So many lovely people turned out for us – friends old and new, friends of friends, colleagues, mums, dads, partners, neighbours, even Ted’s cranial osteopath came. It’s by no means a comprehensive list, but here are a few much-deserved thank yous:

Hannah Jones for setting up and doing some sterling sales work on the beauty and cake stalls
Christine Leech for designing all our wonderful posters and signs, for making and selling some gorgeous cards and for doing about three hours on the cake stall. Even though I said it would be 20 minutes
Christine’s mum – for growing some lovely plants to sell and supporting Christine though the longest 20 minutes of her life
Lucia and Holly from Marie Claire for sourcing loads of great stuff for our raffle
Yvonne, my mother-in-law – for OWNING the raffle. You dared not buy a ticket! Seriously though, she kept the huge array of prizes safe, made us £800 in tickets and didn’t even get lunch (sorry about that m-i-l)
Lucy Pearson for her fabulous face painting. You made the day for many little girls
Ellen Coefield – for your sterling work on bric-a-brac, despite having a tiny baby to look after
Nick Caro – for providing the tunes and creating a laid back party atmosphere
Sarah Pinder for the SUPER TED CAKE!
Melissa Kilding who spent who knows what on raffle tickets! Spend big, win big. Lesson learned.
Monica Baker for knitting the most beautiful farm animals and Christmas decorations and getting them here, on time, all the way from Italy. That’s no mean feat as the Italian post is notoriously rubbish and stuff always goes missing. She had to use visitors and the UK post, so it was a marvellous feat of organisation.

And so many more – everyone who baked cakes, tiffin, brownies and rocky roads, who gave raffle prizes, bric-a-brac donations, who came armed with hugs, kind words and small change (or large notes), who bought crafts, cakes, cards (thanks to Matt’s mum for her beautiful Japanese cards) and prints (cheers Ed), and who bought Ted presents.

Once again we were touched by the kindness shown towards us, and the immense love everyone has for Ted. I think he’s the best baby that ever was born (show me a parent who doesn’t feel that), and on his first birthday I felt that many other people felt the same.

As with our humanist wedding when everyone present played a part in binding us together and supporting Rik and I as a couple, it felt like we all came together again to invest in loving Ted and pledging to play a part in his future. Like one, big, happy family. Now that’s a present that best anything you can buy in the shops. Apart from maybe the froggie slipper socks from Jon and Sally (cheers guys)

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