The Top 10 of Round Table in 2015
It seems a bit of a cliché to say that 2015 was a great year, but truly it was for RTBI. From massive efforts with the local community to putting on some great events for our members, we felt like we had all the bases covered.
It’s pretty difficult to narrow it down to just ten highlights for the year – and many other things could have got a mention – but here is our attempt at showcasing some of the best of what happened this year.
In no particular order:
The Biggest Wish
“I have an idea” has become one of Marcus Jones’ (RTBI National President) catchphrases this year and one of his ideas formed one of the proudest moments for RTBI in recent years.
Working alongside fellow Tablers such as Tamworth’s Sean Poultney, the premise was simple: Tables were to invite deserving families for a day out at Drayton Manor Theme Park with the Round Table wish makers to celebrate 25 years of the formation of Round Table Children's Wish.
With Round Table Children’s Wish celebrating 25 years as a charity, it seemed only fitting that Martin Giles, one of the founders of the charity, was on hand on the day to take part in The Biggest Wish.
Bedecked in orange t-shirts, Tablers and their nominated families spent the day at the Staffordshire theme park.
Olympic swimming Sharron Davies added star status to the occasion, mingling with families, listening to their stories and posing for countless pictures.
The fun continued into the evening with a gala dinner raising funds for RTCW to continue its work of granting wishes to children with life-liming illnesses.
Round Table launches first tv-ready advert
It was lights, camera and action for the national association as they sought to produce their first advertisement.
Working with Media Trust, the brief was twofold: showcase Round Table with an emphasis on how our members do more with their lives and a longer video which shows the impact Round Table has on the local community.
The launch of the 30-second advert was held in Norwich at the home of the very first Round Table meeting, and was attended by Chloe Smith MP and the Mayor of Norwich, who both commented on the impact Round Table has on the communities where they live.
Since the launch, the advert has been shown on the Community TV channel to over 100,000 people, in a cinema before the latest James Bond movie and has been seen over 35,000 times on YouTube.
Round Table makes fundraising announcement
2015 has been a year of shouting about the plaudits of Round Table to anyone who would listen, and we gave ourselves something pretty big to talk about following our charity survey which was conducted between April and June.
The figures flooded in with just over a third of Tables responded to questions about what they had raised money for last year. After every penny was totted up, it was revealed that Round Table had raised over £2.1 million for over 700 charities and good causes across the UK including large efforts for Round Table Children’s Wish and the BBC Children in Need appeal.
Aviemore Conference weekend
National conference made a triumphant return to Scotland when it was hosted in the picturesque town of Aviemore back in May.
Members of Round Table and Ladies Circle made their way to the highlands via plane, train and automobile for a weekend of snow-capped mountains, wee drams aplenty and an atmosphere that everybody wanted to bottle and take home.
Highlights of the Round Table AGM itself saw a plethora of awards given out, with a special kudos for Mike Dalton of Great Dunmow and District. His chairmans challenge of a 160 mile cycle from Great Dunmow to Ypres lead to the largest single donation of £56,000 to BLESMA (the British Limbless Ex Servicemen’s Association).
National Sporting Weekend heads for Norwich
Billed as a homecoming weekend for RTBI, the National Sporting Weekend in September saw hundreds of blokes spending the weekend at the University of East Anglia, pitting area versus area in an attempt to stop Area 14 winning the NSW trophy for the fourth year in a row.
Highlights included a white-collar boxing event which saw NSW Chairman Spencer Burrell face off against Area 6 Chairman Darren Barker and historical tours around Norwich learning about the early beginnings of the Round Table movement.
Not strictly a RTBI campaign, but with former National President Jason Thomson at the helm of Round Table International, it only felt appropriate to give it a mention here.
This was a classic example of the Round Table family coming together on an international scale following the devastating earthquake in Nepal. Very quickly an appeal was put together, All4Nepal, and donations came in from around the world including a donation of money collected at the Aviemore conference weekend.
You can still donate to All4Nepal at all4nepal.org
Flood support across the UK
In some of the worst times, you see the best of human spirit and lots of that has been shown in our members after devastating floods hit across the UK.
Tables in Cumbria have been working closely together to help on the ground and set up a fund online to help local people get back on their feet as quickly as possible. Their help will extend over the next few months with the guys using their local knowledge to pinpoint where donations can be effectively used.
After large parts of Yorkshire flood, Tablers from Lincolnshire and the East Midlands leant both man power and the power of Table by collecting van after van of donations to distribute to the central help points in the area. They continue to appeal for items online.
All the flooded areas have been visited by RTBI President Marcus Jones, who has been lending a hand on the ground, helping to publicise efforts online.
One of the most visual Round Table events got bigger and better this year after Ilfracombe made a few tweaks to the format.
The event became free for the first time in a decade and included an inflatable cider and ale festival, family events such as welly wanging and a live stage with some of North Devon’s best bands.
The star of the show continues to be the Birdman event itself, where people throw themselves off the end of the pier in a variety of ways to entertain the crowd as well as raising money for charity.
The Ilfracombe Round Table boys made it a mini national event in itself, with members from Round Table, Ladies Circle, 41 Club and Tangent camping for the weekend where they were entertained by band Jose and the Hotdogs.
Salo or Bust
Banger rally challenges prove ever popular with Tablers, but one that is arranged by one of our Tables proves to be one of the best.
St. Austell and District Round Table have hosted previous events including a rally to Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Pula, but 2015 saw teams rally from Cornwall to Salo with a variety of challenges along the way.
Over five days, teams will charge around seven different countries raising money for some fantastic charities.
Not only do entrants have the experience of a lifetime, but over £100,000 is raised in the process.
Discover Round Table month
Launched in September 2015, #DiscoverRoundTable month was launched to encourage more blokes across the UK to get in touch with the greatest club for young men in the world.
Round Table seemed to be splashed everywhere with a Round Table billboard being displayed on the busiest motorway advertising board in the UK and in the run up to Discover Month Round Table, were showcased on an advertising screen during an Ashes test at Edgbaston, broadcasting the association to a worldwide audience.
More than 32,000 men aged 20-40 received promotional texts, Telegraph Man ran an article with more than 1000 shares on Facebook and both Facebook and Twitter saw Round Table heavily promoted also.