The Honksters: Tanya Barrow, Annie Spratt, and Penny Alexander
Team Honk started with one single Tweet. I saw Emma Freud talking about exciting plans for Red Nose Day 2013 on Twitter, and tweeted her asking if she'd ever thought about working with bloggers. I'd seen the success of campaigns run by other charities involving bloggers, and was keen to see if we could work some of that magic for Comic Relief.
Emma suggested I come in and have a meeting with their fundraising team - which I did, dragging Annie (Mammasaurus) along with me. We announced some mad plans we had come up with for raising some cash, but left thinking "Well, that didn't go as well as we hoped".
What happened next was a whirlwind: "we want to take three bloggers to Ghana to cover our #GoodWork campaign: come with us! And who else should come with you?". We were thrilled when Comic Relief picked Penny - Annie and I have a habit of behaving like over excited puppies and Penny with her teaching background has the ability to just stare at us and make us calm down.
We had to keep it all very hush hush. There were vaccinations, preparations, time off work. It all happened in just a matter of weeks. Knowing we're rubbish at keeping things secret, the three of us came up with #SecretThing because we had to talk about it in some way.
We finally revealed what #SecretThing was at Heathrow after we had checked in, behind Davina McCall and Jonathan Ross. Twitter exploded and within minutes #SecretThing was trending. Bloggers and users of social media were behind us all the way, ready to share the #GoodNews from the four projects we were set to visit in Accra.
‘"Let's climb a mountain" we thought - and so we did. A team of 22 bloggers, friends and family gathered at Snowdon in early March, wearing red pants and red noses. Add to that cycle rides, cake sales, wearing 1980s silver dresses in public... You name it - Team Honk did it. In six weeks we raised £10,000.’
We had promised to send every blogger that signed up a unique photograph from one of the four projects, to use on their own blog to spread the word about what we were doing. We were inundated. We had over 200 bloggers posting, and linking up to our TeamHonk website.
We decided to harness that momentum and get fund raising. Red Nose Day was just six weeks away so we had to get organised fast. "Let's climb a mountain" we thought - and so we did. A team of 22 bloggers, friends and family gathered at Snowdon in early March, wearing red pants and red noses. Add to that cycle rides, cake sales, wearing 1980s silver dresses in public... You name it - Team Honk did it.
In six weeks we raised £10,000. Team Honk was no longer just the three of us - it was truly a group effort. When we accepted the Brilliance in Blogging award for commentary earlier this year, we emphasised that it wasn't just for the three of us on stage: it was for everybody who shared a photo, retweeted, +1'ed on Google+, did a Facebook update - anything.
And so we continue in 2014 with Sport Relief...
As well as supporting the events that Sport Relief have announced all around the country, we wanted Team Honk to have its very own fundraising effort. After all, Team Honk has a certain reputation now! And what better than a John O'Groat's to Lands End blogger relay? One baton starting at the top of the country and then winding its way down, visiting as many bloggers as possible - all the way to the bottom. There's just one rule: "no motorised transport".
We invited people to sign up, and tell us the distance they would go to join the route, how far they would go on it and what mode of transport they would use - and once again bloggers have blown us away. We are currently approaching 150 sign-ups - and have everything from kayaking to horse-riding, from walking in onesies to paragliding. Some have bravely offered to cover just one mile, due to illness; others are offering to do whole counties. It's mind blowing.
But we want more people (greedy I know). The more sign up, the more people are sponsored, the higher the amount raised. We want to continue Comic Relief's great work: we have seen how £10 can save a life - literally.
So if you can join in, please do - we want this blogger relay to be huge. For there to be little parties along the way, for everybody to know about Team Honk and Sport Relief! You can find out more about Team Honk here, and for more information on Sport Relief please sign up to the Sainsburys Sport Relief Games.
And if you are coming to Blogfest, look out for me. I will be the one with the big pointy finger, saying "TEAM HONK NEEDS YOU".
Blimey Charlie! I had no idea about this at all! I'm so impressed by you guys! I will be able to contribute a paltry few walked miles, but have shared with a local blogging group - hopefully some of them will take it up (although we're in East Anglia, which is probably not on your route).