If you’re a sports fan, then last weekend was the weekend for you: Wimbledon finals, the Tour de France in Yorkshire, World Cup quarter-finals and the Formula 1 British Grand Prix. Under normal circumstances, I’d be trying to grab glimpses of the tennis whilst dealing with the never-ending demands of homework and food, admist the cries of “Do we have to watch the tennis?” from G and M. This year however, saw a break from the norm and instead Saturday found me browsing the shelves of Milton Keynes’ library on my own as Mike and the children spent the day at Silverstone.
This amazing opportunity to watch the qualifying races for the British Grand Prix was thanks to the GOSH events and charity team, who work with Bernie Ecclestone and his team at Silverstone to fundraise for the hospital. They have been working together to raise much needed money for 10 years, raising a whopping £4million for the hospital. Each year they offer 30 GOSH patients and their families the chance to visit the race track over the 3 days of the Grand Prix event.
I first heard about the event on Twitter, where 140 characters offered parents and family of GOSH patients the opportunity to contact the charity’s office and apply for tickets for the event. I wasn’t convinced we’d get the tickets given there must be hundreds of children who’d love to attend, but I came to the conclusion that there was nothing to be lost in making the application. I filled the form in, contacted M’s gastro team to ask for an email supporting our request and confirming that he was fit and well enough to attend the day and emailed the completed form back in with my fingers tightly crossed. I hoped we might have a good chance as M said he wanted to go on the Saturday as 1) he wouldn’t miss school on the Friday and 2) he didn’t want to go on race day itself as we weren’t sure whether there’d be as much to do during the day.
We didn’t have long to wait and were delighted when Mike got the phone-call to say the application had been successful and 3 tickets for the Saturday were ours. M was very excited to be going and the opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time for him as he’s been struggling with some big flare-ups from the EGID recently as well as the introduction of 3 new medicines to his daily regime, which has been challenging for us all. The day had become a real focus for him and he was determined to have a great time there. It was also fantastic to be able to include G in the day out as she rarely benefits from M’s illness and is frequently relegated to second place as we try to deal with him. She was as excited as the boys and I hoped she would enjoy herself as much as I knew Mike would!
So, whilst my lucky trio spent their day meeting the likes of Eddie Jordan, exploring the Paddocks and the garages, polishing a F1 car and experiencing everything that Silverstone had to offer, I spent a quiet day on my own in Milton Keynes. I explored the shops, enjoyed lunch at John Lewis and spent a few idyllic hours peacefully writing my blog and reading in the library. The children have hardly stopped for breath since Saturday, telling me tale after tale about their grand day out and it’s all thanks to the hard work and generosity of those at both Silverstone and GOSH.