#VarietyHB96 through the eyes of an apprentice
The red carpet was rolled out (for us, obviously) and we - Rob Watts, Tom Bedson and Jordan Rudge - strolled down it like kings. This opening sentence may have fooled you, as we were in fact VERY nervous because after all, we'd never done anything like this before.
For me, the most worrying factor was introducing myself to strangers, asking them to get on Twitter and send us a tweet. You'll find out how I got on a little later...
Back in April 1989, Liverpool played NottinghamForest in an FA Cup semi-final. And, as always, lots of reds travelled down to Hillsborough to see their beloved club.
96 never returned.
The aim of this event was to raise as much money (and plenty was!) for the children of Merseyside who really need it. Variety is a children's charity which supports young people in the UK who are sick, disabled or
disadvantaged, and we used the hashtag #VarietyHB96 to help raise online awareness.
We watched many a video and had several guest speakers. A personal highlight was when Margaret Aspinall got on stage - sadly her son was one of the 96 victims. I've seen her on TV campaigning for justice and she’s a true hero on Merseyside. An inspiration.
Our job was to get as many guests live tweeting at the event, as well as taking pictures, vines & tweeting ourselves from @VarietyGB. The coverage quadrupled from the last event which, as you'd imagine, is a great feeling. Success is sweet!
The moment you've been waiting for... this is how talking to 'strangers' went.
Credit to Mr Watts, he won the 'I spoke to a stranger first' award. Well, that's if you can call John Barnes a stranger. We contemplated rock, paper, scissors to determine who introduced themselves first but Rob found some courage deep within: 'Hi, my name is Rob...' and once this connection had been made, us and 'Barnesy' pretty much became best mates (back of the net!)
Then it was my turn. Mark Wright, Liverpool FC legend, had tweeted Variety from his personal account. This was obviously a big help and we were very grateful.
Team manager Rob assigned me a duty... to go and thank him. A nervous wreck, I slowly approached his table, tapped him on the shoulder and introduced myself. He shook my hand and I walked back to base wearing a massive grin. Mission accomplished.
Gaining experience at events such as this is invaluable. I personally got so much out of it, in terms of confidence especially. And, as a red, it fills with me great pride and joy to see amazing people doing amazing things. We were part of a successful charity event and we couldn't ask for much more.
A sit down at the sofas with 'Duh Squad' and a few jokes from the boss topped off a brilliant night.
I speak on behalf of the three of us when saying a massive thank you to everyone involved with #VarietyHB96. A special thanks goes out to Rob Goodswen – he’s a legend... even if he is a HuddersfieldTown fan.