After a heavy start to the year, Access sits down for a much-needed coffee with the Gallopathon organiser and Comic Relief super-fundraiser to chat about raising £20k for the charity and meeting Sam Cam
I’ve always wanted to do something for Comic Relief and be a bit of a fundraiser. I only wanted to raise £1,000; I never thought I’d be able to raise even that.
I’m quite a big fan of Miranda Hart and her show, Miranda. The last episode aired on New Year’s Day in 2015 and the fans were sad that the show had ended. I thought, ‘How about a Gallopathon’ to cheer everyone up and everyone jumped on board. Within two days I had 2,000 likes on Facebook.
I had the idea so I just rang up Comic Relief, and they were really excited about it. I don’t think they knew how big it was, but then we tweeted Emma Freud, the director of Red Nose Day, and she was like, ‘Tell me more!’ Once she found out, she said that [her partner] Richard Curtis was really keen to feature it on the big show. So it kind of snowballed from there, and it was amazing.
Then I had to try and find a venue. I didn’t know anything about how to put on an event; I had never done anything like this before. I remember being at home and thinking, ‘Oh God, this isn’t going to happen’. It was really frustrating.
I spoke to a lady on the big Comic Relief events team called Jess, and she gave me a little bit of advice on how to do things. I was really naïve to start with; I just thought people would give stuff for free because it’s for charity. But no, that doesn’t happen!
Miranda Hart came along and it was so good, it was such a brilliant day, and we raised just shy of £20,000. It was around the country, people organised their own gallops—there was galloping along the seafront, and about 30 different gallops took place.
I was invited to Downing Street for a reception for the fundraisers, so we met Samantha Cameron. It was a really good event, and that was a kind of thank you for the fundraising. It was really nice and a bit surreal—it was all a bit crazy.
I love events, that’s what gets me excited, so it’s really good to be involved in all this now.
This year, we came up with National Galloping Day on 15 March. It’s was on a Wednesday, and it was called ‘Gallop Over the Hump Day’. We wanted people instead of walking to work, to just gallop. And then people can donate to the fund on the website on Red Nose Day and hopefully it will make some more money.
With the main event that happened on 18 March at Chelmsford City Racecourse, we were so lucky that they let us use the racecourse, because they make a lot of money renting it out. Instead, they just donated the venue to use for the event.
The day after the Gallopathon in 2015, I did the Comic Relief Danceathon. I didn’t realise how exhausted I would be! Honestly, my feet—my legwarmers had holes in them. That’s how I felt; they were wrecked, as was I. But it was totally fun.
Red Nose Day takes place this Friday (24 March) at The O2, London.