DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a sponsored post! Everything I mentioned that I’ve done in this post I done off my own back. I have not been paid to write this post either, I am doing that off my own back as well, as the charity mentioned in the post is one that is very close to my heart. All views are also my own and not that of the charities, or anyone elses’.
Well the past few months have been the most hectic I think I’ve ever had. I’ve had a music video project for my media course, which is now in its final stages. I’ve had the exhausting process of applying for UCAS, but the application has finally been sent off and I’m finally getting some offers from my chosen universities (I’ve got a blog post centered around that and other post college/sixth form options in my drafts that I promise I will post at some point!
But most of that is boring and mundane really. However, there has been one thing that has kept me occupied that has been really exciting and I really want to talk about it. A couple of weeks ago, I got to go on a tour around the UK.
Yes, seriously. An actual tour. With a tour bus and everything. Fun fact: The tour bus we had was actually used by Justin Bieber right before we got it. Not a fan of Bieber, but still it’s kind of awesome.
Anyway back to the proper point of it all; I got the most amazing opportunity to help film a music video for a band and virtual choir, and also go on tour with them as their videographer to film a tour diary as they did a series of charity concerts.
The rollercoaster of a week started right at the beginning of the month in Box in Whiltshire where the recording studio was located at. Box is the home of Real World Studios, owned by Peter Gabriel himself. The studio two recording rooms; The Big Room, and The Wood Room. The Big Room is the most popular and most known about, though, and was also the room we got the opportunity to use. It’s been used by the likes of Beyonce, Kanye West, Muse, Young Guns, the list goes on. It’s also been used for soundtrack projects on films like Quantum of Solice, and The Golden Compass, so it was really a starstruck moment to be able to spending my day in such a prestigious, and beautiful room.
Not only was the room beautiful, but so was the scenery around it. The studio itself was formally an old mill before Peter Gabriel turned it into a studio. A river flows through outside of the complex, and to get to the Big Room, you have to walk across a bridge underneath a water fall, which was slightly loud and meant you had to shout to people to have a conversation, but was still beautiful. And when you were in the studio itself, you were just slightly below water level. The view from our window was definitely instagram worthy (if I had remembered to save it without the snapchat caption), but also brought us a relaxed, and inspiring environment.
Unfortunately the day had to end. The band got onto the tour bus and drove up to Newcastle ready for their first gig. I however, had to go home for a couple of days because of stupid, mundane responsibilities. So I shall fast forward to the next Thursday where I finally got to join them on the tour.
Thursday was a day off for them, but I thought it’d be easier for me to meet them in Bristol Thursday evening and get to grips with everything than Friday afternoon in Exeter and be thrown in, in the deep end. I got shown around the bus, which was a mix of bad sleep and luxury at the same time. The bunks were very small, and we had to sleep while the bus was driving, hence the bad nights sleep. But everything else was beautiful and I loved getting to live in it, ableit for a couple of days.
On Friday we stopped at Exeter where we got to spend our day in the beautiful venue which was Exeter Cathedral. The cathedral was nicer than I was expecting it to be, and the acoustics were great. The lighting when it got to the performance in the evening, not so much, but we managed to work it out.
Exeter itself was also a lot better than I was expecting. As with most places in the country, they had their Christmas market going on, which was lovely to have a little walk around on our lunch break. And I also got to experience the best vegetarian food I’ve ever had, thanks to The Plant Cafe. Honestly, their falafel wrap was to die for, and was just what I needed to fill me up for the evening ahead. Their hot chocolate and flat whites were also some of the best I’ve had. It made me envious of anyone who lives in Exeter and gets to go there whenever they want.
The next day, after falling asleep in Exeter, I magically woke up in Norwich. We were parked up at the University of East Anglia campus, so we took a little walk around the uni, which was gorgeous, even if I did feel like I should be running away from zombies.
The gig was at St Peter Mancroft Church, which was a little smaller than Exeter, but still amazing. Everyone was so lovely as we spoke to people at the end, having little chats with us before they left. And they were handing out free wine, so yeah, a definite winner for me.
Norwich was the last night of the tour, so we all had to say goodbye the next day. While only being around for two days on the actual tour, and one day during the rehersals, it felt like I’d been there for days, everyone else on the tour was incredibly welcoming and lovely and made me feel like I had been there with them through the entire tour, and I can’t thank them enough for that.
So what was this all in aid of? Well, like I said before it was a charity tour. And it was all in aid of CLIC Sargent. If you haven’t heard of CLIC Sargent before, they are a cancer charity for young people between the ages of 0-24. When a young person is diagnosed with cancer, CLIC Sargent will do their best to help limit to damage the diagnosis caused to them and their families beyond their health, so all they have to focus on is getting better.
The majority of the people in the photo above, who also worked on tour, are current or ex cancer patients themselves, and have all been helped out by the charity, including myself. I’ve spoken about it in a couple of posts before, but I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in April 2015, and CLIC Sargent were there to help me from the very beginning.
The first thing they did was give me a grant of £170, to help with the financial predicament that a cancer diagnosis can leave you in. Because cancer costs. And it costs a lot. I had to quit my job, my mum had to take days off to come in with me for treatment, we had to travel to get to the hospital. A lack of income with extra costs isn’t easy, and that’s one thing CLIC Sargent try to help with. On top of their own grant, they help you get other grants from other charities like McMillan, and help you apply for any benefits you may now be entitled to. — They also provide homes from home, usually near specialist treatment centres where young people are typically treated for their cancers. They are provided free of charge to families of young people with cancer, so they can be with them during their treatment, but don’t have to worry about the cost of a hotel or hostel.
Not only that, but they helped me with my educational needs, getting me the extra support I needed for my A-level exams. Not only was this crucial for me, but also extremely last minute as my diagnosis was just 2 weeks before my first exam, but they went out of their way to make sure it was all there for me when I needed it.
They also provide a plethora of things, including a music programme, which is how all the musicians on this tour met. It may sound silly to most people, but one of the things you need to most during your cancer journey to to be able to go and do the things you love (something most of us may not be able to do without CLIC Sargents help, as its just yet another cost we can not afford), meet people who understand what you’re going through because they’re going through it too, but at the same time not always talk about your cancer. Because when you’re diagnosed, everyone seems to think your world revolves around it, when in reality you want it to revolve around anything but that.
The charity tour was one way CLIC Sargent have tried to raise money. One of their big campaigns this year, though, is to win Morrison’s charity partnership. It’s a 3 year partnership and is worth £7 million. With that money, plus the exposure and extra donations they’d get for being Morrison’s partnered charity, they’d be able to help out more families than they already do, as unfortunately, not every young person with cancer is currently able to be helped by them.
The charity is funded completely by donations, so please, if you do have some spare money this Christmas, maybe think about sending some of it to them. And if you work for Morrinsons, please consider voting for them to be the partnered charity in January, or if you know someone who works for Morrinsons, try and convice them to vote. I promise it is totally worthwhile. I can’t even begin to think how more difficult my cancer journey would be if it wasn’t for CLIC Sargents continued support. But like I said, I’m one of the lucky ones. They’ve helped me. But they can’t help everyone. But with your donations and votes, and help of any kind, that could change!