Last night was ‘the party night to end all Justice for LB party nights’ (Day 73 of #107days). We don’t do things by halves on this campaign. There was a two pronged approach to this night; a big bash at the Oxford Sports and Social Club organised by Becca and the life raft and an English Country Dance at Bletchingdon Village Hall organised by Caroline. I work with Caroline and she came to the JR hospital with me on July 4th last year. I don’t know what it’s like to be with someone in such unspeakable circumstances (my mate Mary who works in A&E was also there). Caroline shared that experience.
The big bash caused Becca and the gang quite a few sleepless nights. Volunteers queued up instantly – two great bands from Oxford (Mean Montage and Yowash), Alan Joyce, the bacon bap seller from outside Oxford Rail Station, NansforJustice who covered the cost of the room which was offered to us at a great rate by Jenny O’Loughlin, the General Manager at the Oxford Sports and Social Club (OSSC). The most stylish tickets imaginable were designed by Vic, Sam and Trev from Identica, and LNS Print produced em for free. Frog Orange produced an Eddie Stobart themed balloon bouquet and backdrop ‘LB’.
The ticket sales were less hot off the press and given the ballroom at OSSC holds hundreds, there were some anxious moments around ending up with a handful of peeps kicking around awkwardly in the face of such generous contributions. This was an anxiety Becca, her family (particularly Chris, Rory and Julian) and the life raft absorbed and ran with. And, on the night, there was a brilliant turnout. Nothing like a bit of ‘if you build it they will come’ with a hefty dose of behind the scenes organisational graft and magic.
And it was a truly great party. The music was fab, the baps and ice cream fantastic. Charlie’s Angels were there along with other school staff, LB’s classmates, friends, family, Parasol, the young dude from Day 41 and many, many more.
What helped make it such a good party was the space. The giant ballroom (Emperor Ballroom) at the OSSC is a legendary space; enormous, vintage decor, opening out onto a patio (right word?) with tables and chairs, a cricket pitch and playing fields. With a good value bar. It’s a space that allows different levels of party going/attendance and young kids/dudes or adults to randomly roam, run, spin, withdraw, play a spontaneous game of footy and/or dance their socks off.
For us, it’s a space in which Rosie stood in for Rich when she was about 12 to hand out medals to the tiny footy team he coached (and she assisted) in his absence. A fear inducing experience she carried off brilliantly. Around the same time, Rich was hoiked out of the enormous line dancing class we went to for being too disruptive. He was made to first stand at the front, then excluded. Last night he returned to the stage in triumph as The Amazing Geoffrey and Kid Rage (aka Rich and Busker John) did a short set of LB’s fave songs to a delighted audience. Their first ever gig together.
It’s also where we held the party after LB’s do last July.
Sad times that the club is due for demolition in 2016. But an epic ‘party night to end all Justice for LB party nights’. In Bletchingdon and Roman Way, Cowley. LB would have loved it.