The BBQ at the Watermill Park, Broughton Hall began at 1pm. We had prepared the pond area by the side of our office with red flag bunting, red balloons, streamers and hay bales. Our mascot Claude was there on our CESA poster as a reminder of why we were all there. Plus it was good reading for any of the carers, friends and family in attendance who still don’t know the warning signs of CES.
We were lucky to have a few friends to help us get ready for the event and make the area look festive.
The sun was absolutely beautiful and it was a lovely balmy day, perfect for a BBQ. It felt good to be providing an event for people with CES where the main goal was fun! Fun is something that comes in short supply with our condition. We all know how isolating it can feel. But knowing that every person in attendance understands the ways CES affects the body, hopefully reassures members. Even if they have a bladder or bowel issue, or bout of severe pain, everyone there understands and so many have actually been through it many times themselves. I personally felt an abundance of understanding and caring attitudes when I went round to speak to everyone. It was so wonderful and I learnt lots from hearing other people’s experiences of CES.
We made sure to have extra catheter supplies and a quiet room on hand in case anyone needed it. Claire had prepared all the food and drinks and brought along her own BBQ. So we had all kinds of food and drinks available and my brother Sean was cooking up burgers and sausages, everything was free of charge.
We tried to cater to specific food needs too, we had vegan, vegetarian and gluten free on offer. Plus Lisa (who is going to be doing the Scottish side of CESA) brought some beautiful Scottish tablet in little bags with CESA stickers on the front… I had one of them myself and oh my goodness it was beautiful!
People travelled from all over the UK to attend our sunny BBQ. It was great to meet the people behind the facebook profiles from our members group. We had a fantastic singer called Trey Jackson who serenaded us with country classics, my favourite being the Eagles covers.
At one point as Trey sang I rolled my wheelchair to the back of the event and looked on… I saw children playing, new friendships forming, laughter, smiles, people taking pictures, people eating and some people swaying and singing along to the music. I saw happiness. I wish I could have saved that moment somehow.
I remember once thinking that I would never feel comfortable enough to let myself actually enjoy a social event in this way ever again. I’ve always been too preoccupied with fear, and there I was with family, friends, and other people with CES and their dear ones, all of whom will become new friends, I’m sure.
I knew that so many of us in the CES gang would be in pain later and would be feeling the physical affects of the day once we got back home.
But I really hope every one of them thought it was worth it, because I certainly did.
We had a raffle and a tombola and they raised £187 which will be shared between the Champions Charity and the Go Fund Me page of Wendy.
We had some amazing companies who donated prizes including the Haworth Cinema, Flower&Fern Floristry, Weleda and Psychic Sisters. Tarn & Moon were also very supportive and helped us with a prize for another upcoming function.
We are very grateful for such generosity. To top the day off we had a little visit from the peacock that roams around the Broughton Estate. A visit to our office isn’t complete without a peacock sighting!
What a magical day it was.
Claire and I would like to express our gratitude to every person who came to the event and made it so special. We will never forget our first annual BBQ. We’d especially like to thank;
Sean and Harry Farnell for doing the BBQ
Terri and Keely Shrubb for setting things up, tidying after and doing the tombola.
Margaret Farnell for all the help she gave.
Nigel for helping with the hay bales.
Sally Peel for running the raffle.
Stuart Holloway for sourcing the music.
Nicky Chatfield for help with the bags.
The Broughton Hall Estate for allowing us to use the courtyard area.
Lisa Irvine for the Scottish Tablet & all her help.
And everyone else who kindly helped us clean up!
I hope you enjoyed reading about our event… it would be great to see even more CESA members at the next one. Hint hint…
Lots of love,
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