Originally written by Zoomi:
Troopers arrived between 10:300 and 11:30. We were directed to park up behind the Men & Machines marquees. The morning was, to put it simply, a little bit rubbish. It bucketed down with rain, until the magical time arrived where we needed to kit up. A little bit chilly, the wind died down, and with our breath misting in front our faces, or steaming up the inside of buckets, we set off to raise some much needed funds!
We were invited to attend the Men & Machines not-for-profit event in Camden, to help raise funds for the family of a young chap by the name of Blake, a year 4 student who has recently (along with his older brother Jordan) been diagnosed with Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD).
Sez wookied it up, representing the Rebel Legion Tython Base, and as always, Chewbacca was an instant hit with the crowds. Josh did an amazing job, taking photos and collecting donations (including several notes). We may have scared a few nuns in attendance, and made at least two kids cry (I'm sure they were tears of joy).
We had a stand out moment, when a young girl spotted us and made a be-line straight to Andy. She was absolutely fearless, and determined; rushing straight up to him and held his hands, gazing up at him with the biggest smile I have ever seen. Several minutes passes, as she looked between each of us, radiant grin in place, as she took us all in, one by one. Holding his hands, yellow balloon beside them .... it is by far the most powerful and touching moments I have ever experienced to date with the SCG.
She continued to come back to us throughout the troop, stopping by to simply give each of us a hug. She connected with each of us in a way I have never seen any kid do. I can't explain it.
I spent some time with her over by the petting zoo, as she picked up ducklings, chickens and guinea-pigs and brought them over to me to show me. That smile .... I won't forget it. Ever.
The Men & Machines crew did a great job checking in with us throughout the troop. We met the sister of Blake's father, who extended her heartfelt thanks in our attendance and support for her extended family.
Chewie retired just after 13:30, with the remaining trio keeping the fundraising going till 14:30, where we called it a day.
After we de-kitted, we were able to make our way around the rest of the event, check out a few cars, have a much needed coffee, delicious pulled pork burgers and meet & greet with many of the locals who had joined us for photos. Information was given out about the 501st Legion, and a verbal invites was extended to us by Men & Machines to attend another event in October. We asked them to contact us again through the appropriate channels, exchanged more hugs, and made our farewells.
Mission Status: Success. Between can rattling and raffles we managed to raise $5,000 for Blake and his family