Instead of my usual diary update I want to share a seasonal experience that has happened during my visit to Australia’s Gold Coast.
It started when I received a message via our Bridget the Midget website, that said “I have just been reading in the local press about your adventure and may be able to help you.”
Ah, I thought, another willing MG-head offering me possible solutions to Bridget’s mechanical problems, but they don’t know that I have already resolved them. I will call this chap and have a chat and thank him for his trouble. I tried calling the number he had left for me but there was no answer so I decided to leave it to later as I needed to do a couple of tasks and then get ready to go out for the evening. Gary and Anita Lock, who have so kindly allowed me to stay in their home, are taking me out for dinner this evening so I mustn’t be late.
I spent a very pleasant day with some other MG members showing me around the area and generally entertaining me (what a life) and I didn’t have the opportunity to try calling my mystery person until returning to the Lock’s home. I decided to try calling once more before going for a shower and changing.
The phone was answered “Hello Mark Thomas.” “Hello Mark, this is Roy Locock from the Bridget the Midget driving challenge.” “Oh hello Roy thanks for calling me I think I may be able to help you with some fund raising.” This was totally unexpected as I hadn’t for one moment thought of the ‘help’ being offered as being for the fund raising effort. To date most of the donations received have been as the direct result of MG enthusiasts’ assistance and generosity.
Mark continued, “I am on the Gold Coast currently with a show at Conrad Jupiters Casino called ‘Abba Mania’. I was reading in the local press about your round the world adventure which I happen to think is pretty impressive. You probably know that the royalties for the recording of Abba’s song ‘Chiquitita’ were donated to UNICEF and we would like to include the song in the show, then introduce you and have a collection as the audience leaves at the end. What do you think?”
What did I think!! My mind was running at half speed; was this real? “I would be delighted Mark” I said, “When did you have in mind?”
“What are you doing tonight?” Ah, I thought, I knew there would be a catch I am going out with Gary and Anita. I wonder if I could do this later in the week or if they would understand and be prepared to change the arrangement. I told Mark that I had the prior engagement but that I would speak to the people involved and see what could be worked out. He immediately extended an offer to give them seats at the show if they wished to come along.
I should have known that they would immediately agree to change our plans and go along to the theatre. I called Mark back and we arranged to meet at the theatre shortly after 7:00pm, he had already got the theatre managements agreement to the changes that would be needed and to do a collection.
Our tickets were waiting for us at the box office when we arrived. I was briefly taken back stage to meet Mark for a few minutes before the show got under way and he briefed me as to what would happen.
Mark wrote this Abba tribute show back in 1998 and has been presenting and performing in it around the world ever since.
The moment came during the number ‘Dancing Queen’ when I was taken back stage ready to be introduced to the audience. Mark was very gracious in his description of what I am doing and most importantly that I am raising funds for UNICEF. After I had been on they played the Chiquitita number and the audience loved it. As I am always finding here in Australia the generosity of the people is fantastic and they donated over $750. As if that wasn’t enough, Mark immediately offered to make it up to the round thousand from his own pocket.
This was the best possible Christmas gift that I, or UNICEF, could have asked for and it came about in such an unexpected way. I felt it reflected the true spirit of the season.
Merry Christmas to all our supporters