Penge. Home of the 176 bus, a big Wilko’s and some of the strangest people in London. You might think that a classy organisation like RunEurope would choose to host its September fundraiser somewhere a little bit more trendy. Perhaps somewhere a little more central. “Where is Penge?”, our ticket-holders would ask. “Is it in the UK?” another guest enquired. The hesitation in attending was clear, with some of our friends and family fearful that they would never return home from their journey to the depths of south London.
But on Sunday the 25th September 2016, our incessant badgering to spend the afternoon at The Bluebelle Cafe won over, and 40 of the finest people in the UK congregated to support Alzheimer’s Society, drink Prosecco and show RunEurope some love. And what an enormous amount of love there was, with some people sacrificing their Sunday to travel all the way from Coventry and even Edinburgh just to be there! The pressure was on to entertain and make this a worthwhile journey.
With the cafe only closing at 3:30pm, there was little time to transform it into the #1 entertainment venue in the UK. Fortunately, the help of early arrivals came to the rescue and we only had to delay our guests entering the main room for half an hour, using clever tricks like free Prosecco to keep them from grumbling. From that point on, it was smooth sailing with our musicians cracking out the tunes whilst Erika Steenkamp wrestled with the kitchen to serve up 80 plates in 60 minutes. Don’t be surprised if you see her on Masterchef soon.
Lois Perkins provided the ever-popular ‘guess the sweets’ game, and despite some incredibly unnecessary analysis of the jar from some of the participants, Alan Duff won with his nonchalant guess of 112 (the answer was 111). This announcement was quickly followed by one of the first ever public fire-spinning performances in Penge, courtesy of Hugo Pedder. And if that wasn’t enough, Erica herself graced the stage to sing a few covers and a saucier song that delighted the crowd (and mentally scarred her children).
Chris and his band of merry musicians (literally), played right through until the end of the night and much joy was had by all, as far as we could tell. From being frightened that no one would attend, to having all of our most loved friends and family in one room - it was a really memorable evening. We’re totally chuffed to bits to have had everyone there to support us on our journey and really grateful that it ended up with £500 worth of donations to Alzheimer’s Society. You’re all legends!!
P.S. If you enjoyed your time at The Bluebelle Cafe, why not vote for it in the Time Out Love London Awards? Voting will start on the 6th October and we're hopeful the cafe will be shortlisted!