Last year the Durham MAG group decided to focus any charity fundraising on a single charity and chose The Soldiers Sailors and Air Force Association (SSAFA) because some of us are ex forces and many of our parents had had some sort of SSAFA involvement at some point in their lives, our parents being the WWII generation.
SSAFA are the oldest of the military charities, indeed we think the original, pre-dating the British Legion by a good many years.
Durham believes that raising money for riders’ rights comes first but some charity work gives us access to areas and other fundraising opportunities as well as raising our profile that we would otherwise miss out on. How we were going to do this was a quandary, then up stepped Steve and Denise Gray and offered to re-launch the Tan Hill Resprung Spring Thing.
‘Wonderful, brilliant!’ I said, ‘What’s the plan?’
Well it was the usual Tan Hill plan – The highest pub in the UK, not quite the most remote but pretty close; ample camping, lots of falling down water and a band. The conversation with Steve went along these lines.
DAVE “Oh hi Steve what’s the band for the SSAFA do?”
STEVE “I’ve got Jizum,”
DAVE “Eh? You’ve got what?”
STEVE “I’ve got Jizum, they’ve got a huge following in Catterick, they’ll bring a big crowd with them, the squaddies love them. People will come for miles to see Jizum on stage.”
DAVE “You’ve booked a f*&^%$£ band called Jizum for a military charity fundraising do?” How to disguise the band’s name?”
For an instant I flew into full Hitler in the bunker rant, before collapsing to the inevitable.
In the end there was nothing to worry about, nobody even commented. Denise, Avril and Kay looked after the tickets and two long sets with some really interesting tunes followed. It seemed Jizum had plenty to give and after only a short break were up and at it again.
The crowd were an interesting mix. This do doesn’t really attract the usual MAG crowd and was made up of cyclists, mountain rescue personnel from the Swale team based down in Catterick, squaddies and some of the 4X4 crowd plus a large posse of people that just happened to be up there or passing as well as a handful of bikers up for the night.
Steve had assured me the passing trade would fill the place but I was pretty surprised by the sheer number of ‘passing trade’ that passed the highest and almost most remote pub in the UK.
Avril the demon raffle ticket seller was on form and nobody escaped without a handful of tickets, thank you Avril you’re a star. The raffle went down well with one girl slightly bemused by what to do with her bottle of Jack Daniels. This obviously wasn’t our normal crowd. One Stormin Health and Safety executive won a litre of nice Whiskey and was kind enough to pass it around, before staggering off to his tent. Thank you Andy. Andy was our normal crowd and knew exactly what to do with a bottle of whiskey.
Finally, the bike trophy was won by one Mr Spartacus Gains yes that is his real name.
Huge thanks go to Steve and Denise Gray who organised the whole thing and put in an amazing effort to bring Jizum to the Tan Hill masses.
NE MAG Regional Rep