When Lancastrian tenor Alfie Boe met his wife Sarah, according to his autobiography, he was making a cup of tea, which sounds so British, doesn't it? Added to that, he was in San Francisco at the time, rehearsing Baz Luhrman's La Boheme which led to Boe's debut on Broadway, a place he has been very familiar with in recently, having played Jean Valjean in Les Miserables to great critical acclaim. His next venture is also on Broadway but of a very different nature to Les Mis; from the end of March he will take on the lead role of JM Barrie in Finding Neverland.
So, being a tea drinker, and patron of the Fylde Coast's hospice, Trinity, (Boe is from Fleetwood) who better to back the start of their annual Tea Party campaign? Since he became patron, Trinity has seen a marked increase in donations from outside the local area and their press officer, Shirley Morgan, says that "we couldn't have a better patron; we really appreciate the global audience he brings and to top it all, he's such a nice guy." Shirley also shared a little bit of fundraising trivia with me: when analysing their social media reach for 2015, the message with by far and away the most reach and engagement was the tweet in which two Classic Quadrophenia tickets were auctioned off. A massive 17,000 people were reached by that one tweet! The closest tweet reached 9,000 people so it perfectly demonstrates how much Alfie's support means.
Since the tea party campaign was launched two years ago, over £30,000 has been raised by tea parties all over the world, perfectly demonstrating the persuasive power of having a celebrity patron with a lot of devoted fans. £30,000 is a lot of tea and cakes and it all goes to providing services for both Trinity and Brian House, the children's hospice located on the same site. Annually, £5 million is needed to fund the hospice services and while you might think a small donation is just a drop in the ocean, every penny helps. So what does that money provide in terms of services? Well, £10 provides art materials for someone to make a memory box for their loved ones, £150 runs Brian House for one hour, £500 provides eight bereavement sessions for a family and £1,500 means that a child can stay over the weekend, providing much needed respite care for both the child and the family. All donations are another step closer to the overall target of £5 million, all of which comes from charitable donations and the tireless fundraising efforts of the extremely dedicated Trinity team.
So, how can you support Trinity's Tea Party in 2016? Hold a tea party and donate by clicking here. Don't forget to mention that you're an Alfie Boe fan and it's a tea party donation.
This first appeared on www.thoughtsofjustafan.com.