Sallie writes :-
April 6 was a pretty busy day for me – the launch of our new programme with ITC Giving ( see seperate blog also) and Harold’s (our co founder and chair of our advisory board) party to mark the 10th birthday of Responsible Tourism in the UK.
The day started quietly enough – Harold and I took a taxi up to London because we had a lot of “stuff” – laptops, banners and birthday cakes to name a few. It was very pleasant to be driven and relax and chat over speeches etc for the evening – and the traffic from Kent to London wasn’t bad at all – we were very smug that we would be early for the press launch – big mistake!
Flashing blue lights and we were pulled over by one of the City of London’s finest men in blue ( well black leather actually)
Did Harold and I look like terrorists or armed gangsters?
After 40 minutes ( yes 40 precious minutes), a somewhat shaken driver returned to inform us that the congestion charge camera had picked up that the car was not registered as insured. Not true – DVLA were simply behind in their work and had not updated their files – as you can imagine we were very happy campers and if I had the time I would write to them and give them their pedigree – grrrr
So, nearly an hour late we arrived at the venue for the party, dropped off cake etc and dashed on to the National Geographic Cafe for the press launch.
We then spent the next 5 hours talking to the press – then dashed to the party venue to be there in time for the first guests….
Harold’s (our co founder and chair of our advisory board) party was to mark the 10th birthday of Responsible Tourism in the UK, 10 years to the day since Justin Francis and he launched ResponsibleTravel.com. Harold reckoned that the creation of a C21st Fish Street for Responsible Tourism was as good a date as any to mark the birthday of the Responsible Tourism Movement. There were around 100 people there – Responsible Travel.com, the International Centre forResponsible Tourism, ABTA, WTMWorldResponsibleTourismDay, TravelPledge, other Responsible Tourism companies, the media and most important of all for me
– The Earleys and The Wolfsons – people and places volunteers.
Bob and Penny Wolfson who have volunteered with us twice in India
and Lynn and Michael Earley who volunteered in Port Elizabeth last year were wonderful spokespeople for people and places and deserve serious Kudos for their staunch support. I am just sorry I did’t get enough time with them – but whenever I checked them out across the room there seemed to be much laughter and chat – which was true of the whole event – lots of laughter, shared passion and very short speeches – excellent!
Representatives from our local partners in Morocco and Peru were there and thanks to techno cleverness Adama, our partner, was able to join us on skype from The Gambia – he completely upstaged Harold by appearing in the middle of Harold’s speech – perfect!
There were a number of generous donations made to TravelPledge – one by the Earleys from fundraising through talks about their volunteer placements in Port Elizabeth – thankyou again guys – and one from their co – volunteer from Ireland, Noeleen Bryan, who had sent me the cheque to present on the evening.
Thomas Cook pledged to donate all the money needed to achieve the
Harold and I had an uneventful train journey home ( phew!) and finally got back to Faversham at 1.30am .
This afternoon – the following day, as I write this, I would quite like a nap!
“Where was Kate in all this?” I hear the more observant ask. Poorly- sick – laid low by a horrid something or other – she is much better as I write this and will be bright eyed and bushy tailed by the time you read this!