A few months ago I had a conversation with a friend that went along the lines of, ‘What if I organised a party to celebrate ‘Life Begins at Fifty’ being out, but also to raise money for Pencils of Promise.’
Looking back, in practical terms it was a huge gamble, as I had to outlay a lot of money, before any came back in…but when something just feels instinctively right, you just know that it’s going to have a happy ending, so I just went for it!
It was, initially a bit nerve-racking, as I just wanted EVERYONE to come and whenever someone said they couldn’t, I thought, ‘Oh no!’ but then as more and more people said, ‘Yes,’ I started to believe that everything would work out okay.
There were lots of obstacles along the way, from wine orders not coming in, to flat tyres, to cleaners not turning up, to ripped tights on the night (Oh, Lordy!) but, believe me, it really was worth it!
On the night, I celebrated my book being out with about 100 friends, had an absolute whale of a party, and to cap it all, raised about £2,500 for Pencils of Promise (www.pencilsofpromise.org/), a fantastic organisation that builds schools and creates training programmes in underdeveloped countries. Yey!
This was all mainly due to the generosity of family, friends and lots of local businesses, all of whom donated the most amazing raffle and auction prizes, (a week in Turkey, a week in Spain, bed and breakfast at a local hotel, a champagne breakfast at a local bistro, tickets to the races, etc).
It’s very humbling to realise how generous people can be and how willing they are to put themselves out, when they realise it’s for a really worthwhile cause.
PS: I’ve now got the bug – my aim is now to build a school. Watch this space!