It’s not that easy to write about things I organised myself because I am a humble soul, steeped in humility and meekness, and I don’t like blowing my own trumpet (oo-er, Matron). However. We held the second Bedford Who Charity Con a couple of weeks ago and it all went jolly well. We’re pretty new on the convention scene but we seem to have established a niche for ourselves in running intimate, friendly and relaxed events.
We don’t get more than 200 in the audience but that’s an advantage: it means fans get the chance to mingle with the guests rather than admire them from afar. This year, we had Sophie Aldred, Katy Manning, Deborah Watling, John Leeson and Mike Tucker. Nick Briggs was due to come but fell ill; we hope he’s better now.
All were incredibly gracious and generous, chatting to the audience and making sure they had a good time. Mike Tucker brought along one of the original K9 props. We had some short extracts from a couple of scripts: Katy Manning as Professor Litefoot and Deborah Watling as Leela brought the house down. The actors also performed a script of the prologue from Doctor Who and the Daleks: Sophie Aldred and John Leeson were superb as Barbara and Mysterious Old Geezer With Everlasting Match, and I hope I didn’t disgrace myself too badly as rocket scientist Ian Chesterton, understudying for the unwell Nick. We try to have some more unusual happenings at these cons, too, so we’d booked The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre. You may not have seen them, but they’re hysterical. They did a sketch about Ace with Sophie: do take a look.
Sorry about the camerawork; the cameraman was laughing too much and he kept shaking the smartphone.
The charity we were supporting was Bedford Foodbank. It’s a non-political organisation, supported by local churches, the local humanist association and the supermarkets; it’s part of the national Foodbank network organised by The Trussell Trust. The Bedford one provides emergency food to local people in crisis and feeds around 500 people a month. They have to be referred by a third party – their GP, Citizens’ Advice, the YMCA and so on – and they receive three days’ supply of food. It isn’t just random stuff; it’s carefully balanced: the composition of the baskets are worked out by nutritionists. Many clients come as individuals, but most are families (and it seems extraordinary that people in this country in the 21st Century are going hungry, but there we are).
The aim of Bedford Who Charity Con 2 was that, once we’d paid off our costs, everything we made would go to Bedford Foodbank. It took a while to sort out the final bills, but we were able to give them a cheque last week for £2322.
And sincere thanks to everyone who came, and to the guests, who gave so generously their time and who had their collecting buckets on their signing tables, asking for contributions when they signed personal items or had their photos taken with the fans. We’d have been really happy to have raised a thousand; the final total is marvellous. One can’t but think the Doctor would have approved.
If you’d like to support the Foodbank’s work, there are a number of items I’m selling on my eBay shop to raise yet more money for them. I confess that not all my stock is sold for them, so I hope you’ll forgive the plug. Charity listings are updated all the time; Katy Manning was amazingly generous and has donated a wad of autographed photos for us to sell; some are already listed and others will appear soon.
Finally, we did a fanzine for sale at the con. This great work of literature is entitled Doctor Who and the Scary Killer Death Men from Space. It’s funny (allegedly!); if you remember The Completely Useless Doctor Who Encyclopedia, you’ll like this, too. It includes:
- Observations and questions (silly ones) about the series.
- Essential pieces of DW tech (list of everyday items used as high-tech things in the series, such as metal crates for hiking up the height of spaceship chairs in Frontier in Space).
- Nick Briggs’ and Mike Tucker’s favourite jokes (submitted by them!).
- Anagrams (did you know that anagrams of ‘Ian Chesterton’ include ‘hot nectarines’ and ‘enchain otters’?).
- The Doctor Who Story Title Generator grid (just pick one word from each column to create a terrifying story title!).
- Parody of An Unearthly Child in blank verse, as written by Shakespeare.
- William McGonagall’s rewrite of The Dalek Invasion of Earth.
- A couple of rude (but not very rude) words.
The cost is just £2, which goes to the Foodbank, plus 75p postage. (Overseas postage options are available.) Please do support this great cause: you can find the fanzine on ebay. Handily, through my very shop!