Annual Sporting Dinner

beatson-cancer-charity-logoIt was that time of the year again, an event not to be missed on any social calendar, a time to get the glam racks and penguin suits on, it was the Beatson Cancer Charity Annual Sporting Dinner!

Now in it’s 19th year it had all the markings of a good night and boy it didn’t disappoint! Again, like last year we were very kindly given a table as a thank you for our fundraising efforts by Gordon Thompson.

A last minute call off by Ian who had to go away and work resulted in the group now numbering 9, although that didn’t stop Chris putting his jacket over the spare seat and claiming a 2nd meal! The poor lassie serving us looked a little confused every time she came to serve us and the apparent owner of the empty seat was away at the toilet yet again!

I have to say I initially felt a little out of place, like an imposter, mixing with people that looked like they had money, important looking people! Those feelings were quickly put at ease when Siobhan O’Hara spotted me and came over to meet the rest of the team and have a chat with us. Next was Gordon Thomson whom I used to deal with in the Friends of the Beatson days. Like Siobhan, Gordon thanked us for our fundraising efforts and had a chat, making us feel more at home and less of an imposter.

The speakers lined up for the evening were no other than golfer Sam Torrance OBE, former England and British Lions rugby international Martin Bayfield and comedian Brendan Healy. As we rose to our feet to welcome the top table it was not hard to workout which one was the rugby player, Martin towering head and shoulders above the rest!

With the welcome speech out the way it was time to get tore into the buckets of beer that we’d per-ordered while a game of reverse human bingo got under way. Basically everyone who’d bought a ticket stood up and as the numbers were drawn if it appeared on your card you sat down. The last man or woman (need to be all PC nowadays!), standing took home a cheque for £1,000 and several hundred pairs of burning eyes on their back! At the end it was the old classic battle of the sexes with the women coming out top like they usually do, well in my household anyway!

With the bingo out the way it was time to get tore into our meal for the night which consisted of salmon to start with, beef for main course and lemon torte for pudding. Now I would call it Lemon tart but since we were in the posh surroundings of the Glasgow Hilton we’ll refer to it as a Torte! For Chris just take the dishes I mentioned earlier and multiply them by two!

Now that the nosebag was out the way it was time for the guest speakers to entertain us. First up was Martin Bayfield and he certainly entertained the crowd with his stories and humor. Sam Torrance was up next and I didn’t feel he was as good as Martin, the odd remark to make the crowd laugh but that was about it. Lastly it was down to comedian Brendan Healy to entertain us and he brought tears to the eyes of grown men and women with his humor and antics. I think he must have covered every inch of the hall during his speech and that included climbing up onto tables! He really did entertain us.

As per the norm with these events a raffle took place with some amazing prizes, sadly none of which ended up on our table. The big money spinning auction also took place with some money can’t buy prizes…… well actually with it being an auction, money could buy those prizes!

A one point during the evening we were shown the short video below. Now I’ve seen this video before several times but it’s still a hard hitting emotional video no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Please do me a favour and watch the 3min clip. Tears could be seen on the faces of many a person in the room and you could feel the room being filled with emotion.

Yet again it was a great evening with great company and I met some the most amazing influential people I’ve ever met. People that were so passionate about the Beatson Centre and the Beatson Cancer Charity, both patients and workers.

As you may or may not be aware we have a Twitter account (@WhiteleeWarrior) which I manage and actively post to on a daily basis and have built up a group of regular followers. Just recently Paul Sheerin aka @Dandydon1980 who become very supportive of us and our fundraising efforts. As it turns out Paul has had his own battle with Cancer and used the Beatson Centre and it’s facilities. You can read Paul’s Story on the Beatson Cancer Charity Website.

During the day I had sent a tweet out saying how much I was looking forward to the event and Paul replied back saying that he’ll see me there. I replied back saying that would be great but deep down thought that the chance of actually meeting him with so many people attending, very slim. Paul actually went out his way to find out what table we were on and came up and introduced his self and thanked us for all the fundraising we do as he’s benefited from the facilities. I was humbled that he’d made the effort to track little old me down, just an ordinary nothing special guy when the hall was full of big spenders, business owners and famous faces. It really did mean and still does mean a lot that he came over. Next thing I knew I had a lovely malt whisky plonked down in front of me, curtsy of Paul.

I had a good long chat with Paul and also met his lovely wife Lou who was very proud of her husband, and rightly so! They really were an inspirational couple and I will definitely be keeping in contact with them.

Me, Paul and Lou
Me, Paul and Lou

As a great evening came to a close and we moved out into the foyer to enjoy another beer I spotted a huge Beatson Cancer Charity advertising poster and thought it would be a good idea to get a photo of the remaining four Warriors beside it. There were two ladies standing at a table and I asked if they would mind taking the photo for us. Would you believe it, the person I asked to take our photo was no other than Carolyn McAlpine, the face on the Beatson Cancer Charity poster we were about to get our photo taken beside! There was no other thing for it, Carolyn had to be in the photo!

Carolyn McAlpine
Carolyn McAlpine

We spent some time chatting to Carolyn as she told us about her fundraising and asked about ours. Again a very inspirational person. Sadly Carolyn lost her dad and aunt to Cancer, both of whom used the center. You can read about Carolyn’s Story on the Beatson Cancer Charity Website.

Spookily as I was writing this blog post and more specifically as I was writing the section about meeting Carolyn she created a Twitter account (@mcalpine1983) and followed me! Spooky or what!

The four remaining Warriors decided to head to Corinthian to top up our alcohol levels a little more! Arriving at Corinthian we bumped into Carolyn and her pal Anna again and shared a drink and further chat with them. We’d been in Corinthian for a wee while then the fire alarm went off and we had to leave. It was at this point Willie and John decided to call it a night and head home, leaving just the Russell twins to carry on the drinking! So off to the Casino we went for some more beer and some food, eventually falling in my front door at 5:30am this morning!!!

Waking up this morning and even now I’m still buzzing about such a great night and meeting such amazing people! Speaking to Paul, Lou, Carolyn, Gordon and Siobhan really made me come away even more determined to drive the fundraising on as best I can, not that I wasn’t determined before, it’s just seeing the work done and speaking to people who work in or have been treated in the centre leaves a lasting impression.

On that note if you’d like to make a donation then you can do so by following one of the methods below. Even if you can only spare £1.00 it all builds up and very quickly!

  1. Through our Just Giving Page
  2. By text – Text WWBC77 followed by the amount you want to donate to 70070 eg. WWBC77 £3
  3. Cash – you can give cash to any member of the team as they will have Sponsor forms available


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