Tis the season to be generous – and that’s what went through my mind as I watched 43 elves arrive at work at Otter Garden Centres on a grey December morning.
The elves were all garden centre staff, festively dressed to walk, jog or cycle to work to fundraiser for Brain Tumour Support, in memory of their colleague Rob who died this year. Rob was well-liked and known by many as the driver of the Santa Express, the landtrain taking visitors to the annual grotto for a short journey to see Santa. Sadly the grotto was cancelled this year due to Covid-19, but this meant there were lots of elf costumes available to borrow!
The event was inspired by an approach from Helen Patterson, who is a brain tumour survivor and who usually takes part in the grotto as an elf. Helen wanted to fundraise by cycling from Exeter to the garden centre in Ottery dressed as an elf to raise money for Brain Tumour Support and Alzheimer’s Society. She asked to borrow an outfit but she got more than she bargained for, as the Otter team thought this was a great idea, and suggested joining in. I came on board to generate media interest in the event and take some snaps on the day.
We had some lovely coverage in online and print news, although not from local TV on this occasion – which was a real shame as the sight of all those elves descending on the garden centre was something I won’t forget! Branch Manager Karl hired a Co-bike for his trip, which was a nice touch. Even Santa made an appearance to welcome them.
Helen arrived a little later having made the trip from Exeter. On her own, she raised £500 to split between Brain Tumour Support and Alzheimer’s.
Thanks to everyone who gave the fundraising event a little plug, they raised over £3,500 on the day. A fantastic result from 43 Elves!