Giving Voice

Friday, 31 August 2012

Oranges & Jelly Babies at #GNR

Just over two weeks to go until the Great North Run. If you are running I hope your training is going well and you are looking forward to the day!

Last year I wanted to raise awareness of Giving Voice so I went along to the GNR wearing a Giving Voice t-shirt giving out Jelly Babies and oranges. I also had a giant Giving Voice poster with the aim to getting it shown on TV as the elite runners went past. I was successful with this aim albeit for a fraction of a second! Check out the blog from last year here.

I always enjoy supporting the runners as it’s nice to raise their morale as they are running. I could not have anticipated just how much more I would enjoy being on the side lines by giving out Jelly Babies and oranges. The runners seemed to really appreciate the gesture at the 11 mile mark and it gave them a little pick-me-up for the final stretch of the run.

I’m going to be set up on the left hand side just past the 11 mile mark (after The Nook in South Shields) as this is not far from my sister’s house. My brother-in-law is running for the North East Trust for Aphasia (NETA) this year and we will be there to cheer him on. If you would like to sponsor him you can do so here :-) any amount, however small will help make a difference to the amazing work of NETA, supporting people with communication difficulties following a stroke or other brain injury!

We have already bought lots of Jelly Babies and I wrote to Cadbury’s this week in the hope of maybe getting some more. I’ve also ordered some black t-shirts with the Giving Voice logo on for my sister, niece and me to wear on the day. We’ll also be buying lots of oranges to cut into quarters to give out with the Jelly Babies.

If you are running the GNR this year then look out for me and my sister around the 11 mile mark complete with Jelly Babies and oranges. I’m going to tweet this blog to everyone I know doing the GNR and hope they will help me to spread the word a little further!

I’ll be updating my blog after the day (and maybe we’ll even get a glimpse of us on TV again!)

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Monday, 27 August 2012


On Wednesday 15th August I went to Edinburgh to see Lost Voice Guy at the Fringe. We went shopping in Edinburgh for the day before heading to the City Cafe to the comedy gig. I had my tickets booked for a while and was looking forward to seeing Lost Voice Guy again.
Adam Larter opened the night and introduced the first comedian Jeff Lantern - who was hilarious! I had not heard of Jeff Lantern before the gig but he was so brilliant that I would definitely like to see him again!

Jeff Lantern
Patrick Monahan was the MC and he came on before Lost Voice Guy. Lee’s mother was sat in front of us and Pat said as it was her first time at the fringe she had to crowd surf. He then spent a hilarious 5 minutes preparing this for a photo opportunity (with my camera!).
Crowd Surfing

Patrick Monahan

Lost Voice Guy then came on and was as brilliant as ever. The whole room were laughing out loud from start to finish.

Lost Voice Guy
At the end of the gig I got a photo of me with Lost Voice Guy and then with Patrick Monahan. I had a nice chat with Pat and gave him a new Giving Voice pen (which he used to sign his autograph!). My mam and I were wearing out Giving Voice badges and I told Patrick about the campaign and he said he liked our badges! J
Lost Voice Guy and me

My mam, Patrick Monahan and me (wearing our GV badges!)
I was excited to find that Paula Lane (actress – Kylie Platt from Coronation Street) retweeted my blog to more than 49,000 followers earlier this week. I tweeted Paula Lane as she is running the Great North Run and the blog entry she shared was about the Jelly Babies I will be giving out on the day. I will be updating my blog soon to share more information about what I will be doing at the GNR and will tweet this to everyone I know who is running this year, to hopefully spread the word a little bit further J
Retweet from Paula Lane

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Lost Voice Guy Headlines Again!

I was pleased to see a short piece printed in the News Post Leader this week about Lost Voice Guy at Ashington Football Club. This is also available online with a photo of Lost Voice Guy (see here). I’m looking forward to seeing Lost Voice Guy at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh on Wednesday with Patrick Monahan as the MC J I’ll be taking some Giving Voice leaflets and pens  just in case there’s anyone I can give them to!
It’s just 5 weeks until the Great North Run and we’ve been buying Jelly Babies ready to give out to the runners on the day, (around the 11 mile mark). I will be going along wearing my Giving Voice t-shirt again like last year and we’ll also be giving out oranges. My sister wrote to South Shields and Boldon Asda’s to ask if they would donate any oranges for us to give out, but so far she hasn’t heard back. Check out my blog entry from the GNR last year (here)

The Jelly Babies we've bought so far :-)
My brother-in-law is running the GNR for NETA (North East Trust for Aphasia) and I’ll be there cheering him on. If you’d like to sponsor him you can do so here.
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Lost Voice Guy Gives Voice!

Seven weeks ago I could not have anticipated how someone suggesting having a pub quiz would turn into such a successful awareness and fund raising night. I honestly don't think it could have gone any better - thank you so much to everyone who helped to make it happen!
It was a hard slog selling tickets in the first few weeks as sales were slow, and I did begin to wonder if planning such an event had not been the best idea I’ve had. However, not one for being negative for too long, and being determined to make it work I continued to tell everyone I knew about the event.  As ticket sales began to increase and people spread the word my nerves began to turn into excitement in anticipation of the evening. Following Lost Voice Guy’s appearance on BBC Look North the week before the event also led to an increase in sales and I was very excited that it was almost a sell out on the night!
We were able to access the function room at 6pm on Thursday and we turned up with boxes full of Giving Voice things! We had pink and black balloons as well as GV ones and that all important helium to inflate them!  I love balloons and was looking forward to seeing them all blown up so I was most disappointed when we tried to use our brand new bottle of helium only to discover it was empty!  My mam rushed off to Asda to get the helium changed and I was most relieved when she returned with a new (full) bottle in hand (having got it changed no problem!)


Setting up
We set up a production line of cutting ribbon, inflating the balloons with helium, tying knots and attaching them to the (pink and black) weights, ready to decorate the tables.
We then set up the tombola and raffle prizes, and decorated the tables with Giving Voice leaflets, balloons, quiz sheets and pens! Whilst all this was happening The Undefined Group were doing a brilliant job of setting up the PA system and lighting.
Once the room was ready we just needed to wait for the comedians and the audience to arrive ready for our night of entertainment to begin!

Raffle Prizes
Wayne Madden from yradio opened the night before introducing me to talk briefly about Giving Voice and the North East Trust for Aphasia.  I was delighted to welcome Councillor Lesley Rickerby (Executive Member for Children and Young People) and the Mayor of Ashington (John McCormack) to the event who arrived right on cue just as I mentioned him in my opening speech!
Emily Wood opened the show followed by Andy Arrowsmith, both warming up the audience with plenty of laughter before our headline act - Lost Voice Guy!
Lost Voice Guy was without a doubt – phenomenal. I have never seen so many adults crying with laughter all at once! The crowd laughed from his first joke, through to his last and lots of people stood for him at the end of his set. Everyone thought he was hilarious and lots of people told me at the end of the night that their jaws were still aching from laughing so much! (If you haven’t already seen Lost Voice Guy and you get the chance, you’d be a fool to miss out!)

Lost Voice Guy on stage
Following the comedy we had an interval, where I took the opportunity to introduce some other Speech and Language Therapists to Lesley Rickerby and John McCormack.  They were both extremely interested in learning more about Speech and Language Therapy and Giving Voice, and Lesley Rickerby would like to follow this up with a meeting in September!  

We kicked off the second half of the night by calling out some ticket numbers and rewarding these people with some prizes (of a chocolate variety!)
I then introduced Liz Panton, Speech and Language Therapist, who performed ‘Giving Voice’ on her Ukulele. This is a brilliant song that she has written herself, as part of the Giving Voice campaign,  to talk about the variety of work SLTs do.

Liz Panton, SLT
We then moved onto our pub quiz: two rounds of general knowledge and a round loosely based on communication. Wayne then took us through the answers to the four rounds (including the pictures that we’d put on the tables) before handing over to me to make the closing speech for the night. The Mayor drew the raffle then kindly made a speech about what he learned on Thursday evening about Speech and Language Therapy and said he’s looking forward to the next one (!)
I then closed the night with Thank You’s and an announcement of the funds raised. Ashington Football Club kindly donated £50 and the winning quiz team donated their £25 prize, making the total raised on the night, for NETA, a brilliant £390!!
I am still absolutely delighted with how well the night went and how much everyone seemed to enjoy it. Thanks to Chris and Andy (The Undefined Group) for doing the lights and sound, Wayne Madden for being MC and Quiz Master, Mo for being on the door, Liz for her brilliant Uke performance, Annabel, Maureen and Paul for setting up and making the night run smoothly, the wonderful audience for buying tickets, Emily Wood and Andrew Arrowsmith for their comedy and of course... Lost Voice Guy for being the star of the night!

Councillor Lesley Rickerby, John McCormack (Mayor) and me
If you'd like to help raise further funds for the North East Trust for Aphasia, my fantastic brother-in-law Craig is running the Great North Run for them in September - any support you can give is much appreciated!

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives