BMRT selected as the Bolton Sports Federation Ladies” Rounders League Charity of the Year for 2011

This report is from BMRT member Diane Blakeley

I play rounders for Edgeworth Rounders Team who are one of approximately 160 ladies rounders teams who play in the BSF League. I have been involved with rounders for nearly 4 years, very much like Mountain Rescue one of the best elements of rounders is being part of a team. Between 1983 and 2010 the league has raised £96,134.72 for charity which is a fantastic sum of money. This year I decided to nominate BMRT to be the charity for 2011.

The charity is selected at the League’s AGM. Every team sends at least one member to represent them and register their team for the 2011 season, so approximately 300 people attended. John Fletcher and myself attended the AGM representing BMRT. Mark Parry brought along BM1 which we had parked outside Derby Ward Labour Club so that the rounders members could see one of our vehicles as they arrived. Mark left as the AGM started to go back to LBH for the Team Committee meeting.

John and I sat at the front of the room along with the other charities including guide dog Shane. The league first had their business meeting. John and I were highly impressed with how many speeches and elections can be done in such a short space of time (note to Garry). A cheque from the league was presented to Bolton Smiley Faces the league charity for 2010 for £3,820. This was a fantastic sum and everyone involved with the league should be extremely proud of their achievements to raise the money. Bolton Smiley Faces is a charity which raises money to support Bolton families and carers of children with Down Syndrome.

So now it was time to pick the charity for 2011. Seven charities had been nominated, with five turning up on the night to put forward why their charity should be selected. We were fourth to present our case. Each charity had three minutes. Well considering it normally takes us an hour to do this at a lecture and also knowing how much I can talk (before anyone else says it), yes this was a challenge! I had be planning this three minutes for quite a number of weeks, daily making changes to swap one bit for another. Even this morning I changed the ending! Some of my Year 11 students, some ex-students and a colleague listened after school and timed me to make sure I achieved the three minute deadline. I am used to public speaking, but when I stood at the front competing for this money with my assistant holding the mic, (that’s John he was selected to gain the young female vote!) I was physically shaking and I felt everyone would hear it in my voice. I think it was the pressure of knowing that we could lose a lot of money if I did not get the point across what we do.

Once everyone had spoken it was time for the vote. John and I could barely look round the room. One by one each charity was called out. Each rounders team had one voting card which they held up for the charity of their choice. The first two charities received quite a few votes, so I barely hoped that we could now be selected. When our name was called out there just seemed to hands up with yellow cards all around the room. We had clearly won by quite a distance. I nearly burst into tears because it had been very scary having the responsibility and was now such a relief. The League Chairman Glenda Parkinson announced that BMRT was the charity for 2011.

The fundraising has already started as collection buckets were on the door for players to donate to as they arrived. Also £250 has already been donated following some fundraising for another charity that has since closed down, the £500 raised was split between the 2010 and 2011 charities. Lots of members came to congratulate John and I, thanking us for the work we do and saying how pleased they were we had been chosen. The nicest conversation was with a rounders team member who was actually the lady in incident 31/2010 who the team transported in the snow whilst she was in labour. She was as you could imagine extremely grateful and very pleased that we had been selected.

So what happens now, well before I even got home the BSF Rounders League web site had been updated to say that we are the charity for 2011. See the link below which will be regularly updated as money is raised.

There are various fundraising events throughout the year including the Good Friday Fun Run, Chadwick Shield Match, Halloween Night and Presentation Evening. The team will (where team commitments allow) attend such events. Maybe we could even arrange a rounders match, I would love to see some of our guys playing rounders!!!

So a massive thank you to the League Officials and all the club members for selecting us. We look forward to the next year and would like to welcome any teams down to our base if you would like to see a little more about we do. For me it is great to have the rounders I enjoy supporting the important service we provide for the people of Bolton and the surrounding area. Who knows maybe this year the league will achieve the staggering amount of £100,000 raised in total for charities since 1983. That would be amazing!