And the winner is… 9

On a rainy Thursday evening I squeezed onto a packed bus up to Holloway, skipped over puddles and headed to the mighty Emirates Stadium.

Just Giving Awards - Emirates Stadium

As you probably know p/hop was nominated for Most Creative Fundraiser at the Just Giving Awards, so I soon was transported from rainy London to the swish entertainment room of the stadium.

The evening began with a glass of bucks fizz and a spot of knitting gazing out on to the Arsenal pitch, which had lamps on it to make the grass grow at night. Who knew they did that!

Just Giving Awards

Pete and I pretended to be at a game, I’m supporting Flowers in the Rain (one of our samples which I borrowed for the evening) and Pete looks miserable because Arsenal haven’t won anything for ages.

Just Giving Awards

We enjoyed a delicious meal and good conversation with the other nominees at our table. I managed to squeeze in our unofficial motto, “p/hop the less sweaty way to give” while talking to someone who organises charity bike rides.

Just Giving Awards

As well as Flowers in the Rain being at the awards Natalie had a gorgeous Trinity Shawlette which her friend Paraknit had made especially for the occasion, again demonstrating how generous knitters are.

Just Giving Awards

After dinner there was a superb and heartfelt performance by the Choir With No Name which is made up of homeless and vulnerably housed people. Please take a moment to visit their website as they are truly inspiring.

Choir With No Name

Then the nerves set in as it was award time. Being part of the Just Giving Awards was a humbling experience as we were among wonderful and inspiring people and many of the stories of how people started fund raising brought a tear to my eye. The other finalists in our category were great fund raising ideas (You can read about the Davenant Slum Survivor Team and  Gabrielle Latham & Joanne Hall’s Big Wheel Lock-in fundraiser on the Just Giving website) so I had no idea who would win.

I was caught completely unawares when Natalie’s name was called out so only got this photo of her collecting it. She made a brilliant acceptance speech about how knitting a jumper starts with just one stitch, then you knit another, and another and it grows, which is how p/hop has happened. It’s thoroughly deserved and well done to Natalie for coming up with such a brilliant idea. Keep an ear out on your local radio as you might hear Natalie talking about p/hop as she’s done loads of interviews over the last 48 hours.

Just Giving Awards

I did get a better photo later on once we’d calmed down…

Just Giving Awards

and we had to show the award with some knitting!

Just Giving Awards

Awards aside, something just as momentous happened last night. Watch this video to see more…

It was a great evening and we’d like to thank Just Giving, firstly for helping to make fund-raising so easy and secondly for a lovely event.

Finally we’d like to say a  HUGE thank you to everyone who has made this happen. I hope you know p/hop isn’t about a few people, it’s about a whole community, so if you’ve done something, no matter how small, pat yourself on the back and say “I did this”.

BRILLIANT! Now what’s next?

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