Nuts Launch Party
So it’s time again for tales from the past two weeks, we’ve had two massive events; one at AvePoint in their new London office in Farringdon and the second, a Nuts Over The Atlantic launch party, where we teamed up with Bristol Sport to deliver a great evening at the Ashton Gate Stadium.
So we started preparing for these events by filming with Reach, a duo from Bristol starting their own journey to make a film studio. We looked back on the footage we took from the week before and unfortunately, we just didn’t quite get across the messages we wanted and time was running out to re-film with them. We knew we wanted to continue working with Reach in the future, but had a decision to make as to what we do for the events coming up.
We took it upon ourselves to make our own video (which turns out is a lot harder than we thought) and as Dan has the creative flair he was chosen to direct it… or chop it up, much to his delight. We collected all the footage we had from previous Atlantic Campaign videos and mixed it together to form a creative masterpiece… and when we woke up from this wonderful dream of ours we knew we just couldn’t finish it. Time was running out and we had a presentation to be finished for the launch party at Ashton Gate. We decided we’d have to use an Atlantic Campaign video, a video that didn’t get across our message as a team but illustrated the incredible challenge ahead and the problems and forces the team would face on the ocean. This meant that our presentation would have to showcase the team, our charity and our story enough, so that the crowd could get to know us personally and hopefully invest in us and our cause.
The next few days the team spent collating personal images, family stories, facts about each of our causes and written notes that we would say on the day. Some of the images were extremely powerful, in particular, Mark bravely sent pictures of his spine from when he had scoliosis and the corrections to it after surgery. We’re a close team, but even we hadn’t realised the full extent of the injury, it was eye opening and I’m not sure Mark realises now the added respect he has from his crew. With this story and others such as the loss the Baker’ brothers have had made us realise just how cemented to Movember we were.
The presentation was almost complete but it had to be parked to one side as it was the day of the AvePoint event, the guys in Bristol collected the rowing machines and NOTA signs and drove to London, with Dan meeting them near the office in Farringdon to set everything up. It was a strange experience, dragging two rowing machines around a high-rise London office surrounded by computer desks and staff still going about their work day. The office was decorated with red balloons and signs for AvePoint, the bar was packed with drinks and there was even a little crepe company in the corner of the office hired to create savoury and sweet treats for the guests.
It didn’t take long for the guests to start arriving and our special guest Ozzy from Movember, so we nipped in to the office toilets and changed into our rowing gear and iconified tee’s. As we stepped out we spoke to the partners of AvePoint about our adventure and had some last minute talks with Dux and Anne-Marie as to the running order of the event, we were due to start rowing at 6.30pm as Dux spoke to the AvePoint public over Facebook Live. The target was a £1,500 donation for 20,000 meters rowed in two hours and we wanted to make a real impression on AvePoint and their partners.
We decided we’d go for it, in hindsight being in an office with a large crowd and not a lot of ventilation we may have gone a little slower, but that’s not our style I guess. Ozzy delivered a speech on behalf of Movember followed by Jon and Dan kicking off the first row and it didn’t take long for the sweat to start pouring, this office was seriously hot! We weren’t going to let that stop us though and the crowd didn’t mind the fact we were dripping, as we were inundated with people coming over, eager to hear about our upcoming Atlantic adventure. With a few changeovers after 5,000 meters per shift we were soon done, we finished the challenge in 1:34:27 and after a nice cheer from the crowd, we quickly scurried off to change into some clean NOTA tee’s and mingled with crowd.
There was one final Facebook Live video where we were presented with massive cheques (a novelty but a fun one nonetheless) which was followed by a lot of talking and exchanges of great stories before unfortunately it was the end of a great evening. We wanted to thank AvePoint for putting on this event for them and us as it was a great success. We raised in total around £1800 for Movember, not bad for a couple of hours rowing! It was time to pack our stuff up and head to our respective homes around the country for a couple of days at least until our next event at Ashton Gate started.. at least this was true for most of the team; Mark on the other hand would be driving to Scotland in the morning to collect our now watertight boat…
325 miles separate Bristol and the home of Leven Brown, adventurer and boat builder. Google Maps says you can drive there in 5 and a half hours… Google Maps is a god damned liar! Don’t get us wrong, the drive is full of beautiful spots; huge vast hills of green split by rivers in the Yorkshire Dales; the giant peaks of Cumbria followed by the nature and wildlife of Scotland; Leven’s home is surrounded by so much wildlife, nature, peaceful fields and… ocean rowing boats. White with all the standard trimmings, our boat will stand out like a sore thumb and in time everyone will see why. Mark drove the boat up by himself and after a quick chat and coffee with the charismatic Leven, Mark hitched the boat to the back of the Land Rover and was soon on his way back to Bristol and he needed to be… tomorrow was our Ashton Gate event.
It was Thursday and the team still had a lot to sort out, another t-shirt company had let us down so we quickly washed our now dirty t-shirts from the AvePoint party launch and hung them out to dry. Last minute changes were made to the presentation and we had a lunchtime conference call to go through the presentation slide order and who would talk for each slide. We decided it was as good as it would ever be and went back to our respective jobs before we’d all meet again at Ashton Gate Stadium.
We all arrived and the boat was parked inside, Mark drove all day on the Wednesday and managed to get to the stadium just in time to drop it off. We brought the boat around and settled it underneath the large monitor on the side of the stadiums largest stand. We had time to step back and appreciate our (almost) ready boat onlooking the four of us on the big screen; it was a proud moment for all. Will Carpenter of Bristol Sport met us at the entrance and prepped the big screen for the video and presentation. The video was ready to go, the venue was prepped and the stage was set; all was left, was to go over the presentation before our guests started to arrive.
In all honesty we were a little worried about how many people were going to turn up, Bristol Sport had done so much to advertise the event but feelers sent out weren’t spectacular. There was a push to get friends and family to turn up last minute and fill the place, which is why we were so pleasantly surprised to see so many faces turn up on the day. We were also extremely grateful for the Bristol Rugby players and the Bristol City coaches for coming along to support us, as well as Jon Lansdown himself. Once the venue was filling up and the drinks and canapés were served we started the evening, introduced by the entertaining Ben Breeze who never fails to hold a crowd.
We started with a brief introduction, followed by Atlantic Campaign’s “The Elements” video, a presentation by us on what this challenge means to us and finished off with a Q&A with Ben Breeze and the crowd. The video gave a few people in the crowd a whole new insight and while before the event they were supporting our cause, they had no idea of the depth and severity of the challenge. We spoke to a few of our sponsors and people from the crowd after who confirmed this and vowed to help us out even more, which of course, we are always extremely grateful for. The presentation was nerve wracking and even though a couple of us fluffed a few lines, it was well received and people noticed we are completely genuine about our approach and wanting to do good for Movember.
The Q&A was very light hearted, Ben Breeze didn’t write down his questions before and so every question and answer felt more forthright, unrehearsed. A welcome change to a few interviews we’ve done in the past. Ozzy gave a great speech afterwards on behalf of Movember and after a few kind words it was Nick Fenton-Well’s turn on the mic. What followed was a very heart touching speech of team work and the importance of us being there for each other. He told of the dark times we have ahead of us and that only by working together towards a common goal will we be able to pull ourselves out of troubling times and towards greatness. Without doubt, it struck a cord.
Once the Q&A was over we starting mingling around the room and our boat, thanking our guests for coming and answering various questions of the challenge. As the evening drew to a close we packed up the room, tied the boat down and said our final goodbyes to friends and families. The boat had to get back up to Scotland and it wasn’t going to get there itself. Mark and Dan would drive it back through the night, albeit with a cheeky 2 hour kip in a service station along the way. The boat had travelled close to 700 miles in 48 hours, we were dreaming of that kind of speed on water and would take that distance in a week for sure!
It was a whirlwind couple of weeks and while we don’t have time to rest on laurels just yet, this period will be one of those defining moments where we can look back on after the challenge with the fondest of memories. As always, we’ll be keeping things running smoothly on social media and (hopefully) in the news, so thank you for reading, following our challenge and follow our social media for the next event.