One Trike, Two Ravens and A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On!!!


Gillian and Debbie trying out the trike ( key not in ignition for safety purposes

I’m going to start this blog at the end.  Here goes:

What a bloody fantastic day we had at on 8th June 2013!  It was the very first fundraising event for ‘accessthedales’ and it turned out to be a roaring success.

Our initial venue fell through due to unforseen circumstances.  I remember the telephone call.  It went something like this:

“Hello, Deborah, this is the person who owns the venue you were going to use.”


“Bad news, I’m afraid.  It’s fallen through.”


“Unforseen circumstances.”

In something akin to the sort of panic a rabbit in the glare of headlights must feel, I sent out a message on Twitter asking for any help out there.  I was offered a toffee hammer, a bucket of steam and a small wooden stick with a little wax thing on the end.  I think something must have gone awry in the ether of the Internet.

It was then that Gillian Cowburn, an angel upon the very plates of this Earth, at Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE) contacted us and made the very kind offer to host the event.

My husband was initially skeptical and wondered whether this was simply some form of complex ruse I’d put together to get him through the doors of Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE) with a mind to shopping till my wheelchair ran out of power.  Perish the thought – although the last time I was there, I had seen a particularly delicious little cardigan.

There then followed a period of fevered frenzy, which involved a lot of letter writing, more tweeting and some little cheeky telephone calls in search of prizes.

What can I say?

I was bowled over by the donations made by people from far and wide.  The generosity seemed to be limitless.

For example, Yorkshire Trike Tours donated a tour on their three seater Boom trike, which was first prize in the raffle.

Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE) an afternoon tea.

King William the Fourth Guest House of Settle donated a stay in their high quality bed and breakfast.

The prizes simply kept on coming – too many to mention here – along with messages of support.

The one downside in the preparation and run up to the event was something we like to call Red Tape.  Andy, my husband, calls it that too; but he adds some very colourful and flowery expletives too, which I won’t list here.  Again, there’s too many to mention.

The particular Red Tape incident involved the license needed for selling raffle tickets.  I spoke at great length on the telephone to a man in a council department, who sounded very important on the telephone.

“I’m afraid you can’t sell raffle tickets before the day,” he said.  “You’re not a charity, so I won’t allow it.  Besides, I’m very busy with the local elections.  Didn’t you know four people will turn out to vote next week?  I need to focus all my resources on that.”

“But this is to raise money for a Tramper to help disabled people to–”

“My dear, you could tell me your raising money to paint Mount Everest a tinge of green, it wouldn’t make any difference.  I’m a local authority officer.  I’m very important.  And I’m a miserable bugger too.  Goodbye.”

So that was that!

June 8th arrived.  No raffle tickets sold.  No tombola tickets sold.  To say I was nervous would be an understatement.

When we arrived at Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE), we were greeted by Gillian, who swept us up in tentacles of enthusiasm and, within minutes, the tombola prizes were out, the raffle tickets ready and the doors opened.

Yorkshire Trike Tours came along for the day with the three seater Boom Trike.

David Taylor brought along a Tramper, which I stroked longingly on several occasions and which people had the chance to ride out on.  It was last seen heading North towards Nethy Bridge, piloted by a lady with a fetching purple rinse.

Janette Igraine Hustwitt Skelton, The Queen’s Keeper of Castle Ravens at Knaresborough Castle attended with two ravens and a pterodactyl, who live with her.  Being a lady with many feathers to her wing, she also kindly donated two candlesticks and a wine rack, which, being a blacksmith, she’d made herself.  THIS is the kind of generosity I was talking about.

Two former members of The Torture of Comacine death metal band were there playing jazz, much to the relief of Gillian, who thought that it was indeed going to be Thrash Metal.

It was also reported there was a partridge in a pear tree.

Each hour brought new people and new memories.  Andy’s favourite was the couple who won an Ionic Mould Remover on the tombola.

“Yellow ticket 180,” announced Gillian.

Andy was straight on the prize.  He admitted later he’d memorised its precise location and number for just this moment.

“There you are, sir,” he said, handing over the mould remover.

The man stared at it and said, “I’d better find somewhere mouldy to live then.”

My memorable moment was when a lady thought that the actual trike was the prize and was wondering where she would park the trike when she went shopping.

We shut up shop at 4.30pm and drew the raffle.

The money was counted by the manager of the store.

In total, from raffle tickets, tombola tickets and very generous donations, £1010 was raised!

I was moved to tears.  Overwhelmed doesn’t do justice to how I felt (and still feel) about the generosity and kindness shown by so, so many people.

If you ever need to restore your faith in people, then take a good long hard look at the people who donated time, effort and prizes for this venture for no other reason than they believed deeply in what we’re doing at ‘accessthedales’.

And now, in true Academy Award fashion, I’d like to thank the following people/places/organisations who, in their very own ways, have contributed to ‘accessthedales’:

Gillian and all the staff at Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE).

Jason and Judith at Yorkshire Trike Tours

Wheelchair Dave  – Dave Halsall who I regularly have Facebook conversations with at 3 am in the morning, when we are both awake, in pain and waiting for the morphine to kick in.

Janette Igraine Hustwitt Skelton

Dave Taylor The Tramper Man

Andy for marrying me, for not divorcing me, for putting up with me… the list could go on. (Yes, it could  says Andy)

Adam and Kane for the jazz and not thrash metal.

Andy’s mum for buying Andy an iced finger

Andy’s auntie for bringing Andy’s mum up to Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE) so she could buy him an iced finger and spend lots of money in the shop on handbags.  She’s still on the lookout for a good Ionic Mould Remover if anybody knows of one.

An anonymous donator – thank you, thank you, thank you.

And every single person who supported ‘accessthedales’.

Debs and Andy having test drive of the Trike

Debs and Andy having test drive of the Trike

HM keeper of the Ravens

HM keeper of the Ravens


The Yorkshire Trike outside Country Harvest

The tombola table - first round - spot the mould remover
The tombola table – first round – spot the mould remover

THrash Metal until Gillian popped her head outside then it was back to Jazz!

THrash Metal until Gillian popped her head outside then it was back to Jazz!

Andy's mum before she bought him an iced finger

Andy’s mum before she bought him an iced finger

Dave and me - finally we meet after months of early morning Facebook conversations

Dave and me – finally we meet after months of early morning Facebook conversations

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by picky on June 11, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    glad it went well for you hope you make youre target for this very worth while cause


    • Hello, we had a blooming fantastic day. Now planning the next!


    • .Hi there, just to let you know the target was reached and there is now a Tramper based at Malham Tarn. It can be hired out for the day for just £5 from the National trust office at Malham Tarn. I’ve started my new challenge which is to raise £11,000 to buy a most robust all terrain wheelchair for the Calvert Keider Trust which is a outdoor pursuit centre for the disabled. I have a new just giving page


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