Friday 16 August 2013

AFC Wimbledon's Charity Mascot Race 2013!

Haydon the Womble will be aiming to flourish on home turf next month when he takes part in the AFC Wimbledon Charity Mascot Race.
In one of the highlights of this year’s Wimbledon Common Stables Open Day on Sunday, 15 September, Haydon will be battling it out with the likes of Debra the Zebra and Bertie the Badger for the Womble Underground Press (WUP) Cup (our picture above shows the mascots setting off on their challenge in last year's event).
It is all for a good cause too with Centrepoint, who work with homeless children in London, the main charity to benefit and donations can be made using the link at the bottom of this page.
The Stables Open Day takes place in the shadow of Wimbledon Windmill and allows the Commons Rangers to open up their buildings to explain their work to the public. There are also lots of stalls, as well as an arena ideally suited for mascots. This year sees the third running of the AFC Wimbledon charity mascot race, where these mighty chariots of fur hurtle around the tight obstacle course to compete for the prestigious WUP Cup, much to the delight of the assembled children and to the confusion of unsuspecting dog-walkers. This year Haydon the Womble will be looking to have his name engraved on the trophy alongside previous winners Debra the Zebra and Cyril the St Helier Squirrel, and being on home turf should give him the edge!
The whole event is a great opportunity both to raise funds for good causes and to put the club at the centre of its community in Wimbledon. The main charity to benefit this year is Centrepoint, who work with homeless children in London. With AFC Wimbledon supporters’ help, Haydon will be doing his very best to reach his fundraising target of £100 and to bring home the Cup. Many of the other mascots will be raising funds for their own organisations; there are numerous charities that will benefit from taking part and causes that everyone can get behind.
The invitations have gone out, and mascots are starting to fill the racecard. More will be added over the coming weeks, and we are looking to equal or surpass the number of entrants in last year’s race. If any AFC Wimbledon supporters work for organisations that have a mascot, they are more than welcome to join in and raise some money for their cause.
Please get behind Haydon and sponsor him or one of the other competitors for a small sum by clicking on  Mascot event .

Thursday 7 March 2013

Warren's Sticky Player Penalty Run-Up Red Nose Challenge!

Warren's sponsorship page:

Warren, just before taking his first penalty
When an old friend of the Community Team like Warren Palmer asks a favour, you do your best to help out! 

Warren attends the South Wimbledon-based High Path Day Centre for Adults with Learning Disabilities and not only that he's also a fanatical AFC Wimbledon supporter as well, being  part of the flag-painting project that produced the High Path Flag and also a key member of the Big Blast Band whose version of 'We Are Wimbledon!' was performed live at the stadium (and is also still available for download at Amazon!) 

Warren was keen to carry on the tradition, started last year by his friend Marie, of raising money every year for either Sport or Comic Relief. Marie ran a circuit of the pitch accompanied by Seb Brown but Warren thought this might be a bit beyond him and besides he wanted to do something a bit different as it was Comic Relief this time round.

One thing Warren said he'd really love to do would be to score a goal at the Tempest End. As we haven't had too many scored there this season we thought that would be a pretty good idea as well, so we all had a think about how he could do this as a form of Red-Nose challenge.

You'll notice that Warren has to use a cane to get around and one of our discussions with him was about how he'd like to take the penalty - alone with his cane, or with someone providing assistance. Which was easier? Was a helper more responsive or was the cane better for support?  Could an assistant help him get up speed or would their legs clash with his? Was a fit and healthy human assistant more a help or a hindrance?   

In fact, if you took it to the limit, was a professional, young and fit  AFC Wimbledon player of more use to Warren than a plain old stick?

In the spirit of the 80s betting-gameshow 'Banzai!' (with example link for those too young to remember) Warren was keen to find out and this ended up being his favourite idea for a challenge. First of all we would time his longest ever penalty run-up, just using his trusty cane, from the start of his run from the centre circle to the ball crossing the line. That would set the target time and give us the "DON - ZAI!" challenge!!

                           Player or Stick? ............. Stick or Player? 

 Which is most useful?

To bring his challenge to a climax, just before the start of the Morecambe game at the Cherry Red Record Stadium on 23rd March 2013, Warren will attempt to beat his personal best by using a real live AFC Wimbledon player as support! This will not only prove once and for all whether Wimbledon players are more useful than aluminium canes, but also give Warren his once in a lifetime opportunity to score a goal in front of the Tempest End! 

Yay! Result all round!!! (Even if he will be very nervous knowing his mum is attending her very first football match and looking forward to seeing Warren's penalty!)

With a challenge like that ahead of him he'd appreciate as much sponsorship as he could raise and he's set the bar at an ambitious £300...

To set the scene we are currently producing a video of Warren's baseline run carried out at the Cherry Red Record Stadium earlier this week. As Bert Kwouk was not available for Banzai voice over duties we've refrained from attempting his distinctive accent but suffice to say Warren threw himself into both the filming and the video with his typical sense of daring-do and good humour!

Warren's run up and penalty kick was timed in at 
43 seconds!

That's the time he's aiming to beat on Saturday 23rd March!

Warren's Red Nose donations page can be found at here and we hope can help him reach his target with a small donation.  Good luck Warren!

ps Thanks also to Michael form the CFS and Andy from High Path for being good sports in the making of the video. Take a bow gentlemen!

Monday 3 December 2012

The Community Christmas Tree!

It was a bit unlucky of the National Trust in Morden to settle on the 2nd of December as the day of their Community Christmas tree event...
The forest starts to grow

Not their fault of course. They couldn't have anticipated that we'd be involved in an FA Cup tie against a property development company in Buckinghamshire but it was bad luck all the same.

Actually the event itself strikes me as being a sound and interesting one, with the National Trust contacting local community groups and asking them to create and decorate a Christmas tree that reflects their particular organisation. AFC Wimbledon had been contacted as we used the new exhibition space for our school flag display earlier in the year and as the park is busy with shoppers, walkers and other assorted locals out for the festive season I was more than happy to take up the offer. It could be fun and a chance to be a bit inventive and it might also provide something that could be used at the stadium or elsewhere to show what we do to a wider audience.

My basic idea was to have a tree decorated in Yellow & Blue and with laminated photos of activities we have been invovled with over the last year. On the back were descriptions of what it was all about and who it was aimed at. From Haydon to the Big Blast Band, Marie's Run to Cub's and their Artist badge, we covered them all!

I think the final result was quite acceptable, but I did have to deliver it a day early on the Saturday morning as there was no way I could be around to do it on the actual day. I wasn't the only one though and a few other trees were also in position, so it was fun having a look at them as well.

The exhibition is on for a couple of weeks and with a Christmas Fair and Farmers Market next Saturday, it could be worth a visit if you're thinking of popping up to Barnet on the Northern Line!

(For more pictures take a look at the AFC Wimbledon Facebook page.)

Tuesday 27 November 2012

FA Cup Day Activities and Mascot Special!

SUNDAY DECEMBER 2nd sees quite a significant day in the life of AFC Wimbledon when the club play "Ssshhh, You know who!" away in the FA Cup.

There will no doubt be many stories to tell and much going on throughout the day, but for those supporters who either can't or don't wish to attend the game itself live coverage is being shown by the club in the Kingsmeadow bars. Tickets are £3 each, but are redeemable against a drink at the bar. (see Official Site for details)

With a potentially sizeable number of supporters turning up, as well as assorted media interest and possible press attendance all concentrating on the emotions stirred up by the game, this gathering at teh ground seemed a good opportunity to put another side of the club in the frame.

Although the main events will be the showing of the match in the two large bars, younger supporters can enjoy other diverting activities both before and after the match in the President's Lounge. Yellow and Blue themed face-painting and womble related activities should mean they will be occupied for the full 90 minutes at least!

There will also be some pre and post match diversions for adults that will also allow for some fundraising to take place on behalf of the club

The iDons Stall - Dvds, cds and computer games at 4 for a £1. Huge bargains to be had and all going to the club

The Inflatable Shoot Out - There's a chance of winning a commemorative prize for everyone who can put a ball through a hole. Easy, and again all takings go back to the club

The Dons Raffle - There has to be a raffle, it's traditional! Again, Wimbledon themed prizes and a few more pennies in the coffers

The Dons Trust Fete Games - A range of amusements and divertimento to keep your mind fresh and your blood pressure down. 

On the entertainments side, fresh from his Paralympics triumph, Rockin' Paddy will be playing a set or two in the back bar before and after TV coverage

The bars will be decorated with a range of supporter's flags to provide an intimate and Wimbledon themed viewing experience

Various football organizations will be pitching up outside the bars with displays and information on a number of themes, from Kick It Out to the Football Supporters Federation. Good for a browse to help calm the nerves...

Sadly Monty the Lamb is being dipped on
Sunday and won't be at the race
However, the Community Dons want to contribute too! We see this day with its attendant media interest as an ideal opportunity to ensure that even more positive aspects of the club can be put on display and to show that AFC Wimbledon should not be defined by juxtaposing it to a faux team in a midlands town.

To that end the community team were looking for a light-hearted activity that could take place during half time and also raise some money for a good cause. It occurred to us that Haydon the Womble would be around the stadium so we thought he might take the opportunity to invite some of his mascot friends over to keep him company! Not only that, but an obstacle race at the stadium could help the Community Dons raise some funds for the recent Children in Need appeal

Andrews Estate Agents
As it's all going to such a good cause, our friends at Andrews Estate Agents have agreed to sponsor the event with a very generous donation and the good people of the Womble Underground Press have agreed to sponsor a trophy for the winner and framed commemorative certificates for all participating mascots!

Sponsorship and helping Children In Need
Supporters will also have the chance to support the charity and to win commemorative AFC Wimbledon memorabilia by purchasing their £1 their Golden Mascot ticket. Pick a ticket at random to find out which mascot you're rooting for, add your name and phone number and put it in the raffle bin. When we have our winner, the first ticket out the raffle bin with the winning mascot name on will be presented with a very unusual prize!

This is going to be a mascot race like no other, up close and in your face with thrills and spills galore, so we hope you'll take a few half time minutes to come out and cheer on Haydon and his friends!

The potential list of runners at the moment include the following stalwarts

1.                Haydon the Womble                  (AFC Wimbledon)

2.                KNK Kev                                     (KNK Builders)

3.                Debra the Zebra                        (Merton Road Safety)

4.                Sam the Dog                              (Samuel Estate Agents)

5.                Pudsey Bear                              (Children in Need )

6.                Bully Bullseye                             (Bullseye Quiz Show)

7.                Hot Dog!                                     (The Doggy Boutique, Morden)

8.                Bumper the Mouse                    (Hollywood Bowl, Tolworth)

9.                Howie Hornet                              (Horsham FC)  

10.              Bertie the Badger                       (St John Ambulance)

The club shop will be open at 8am and Golden Mascot tickets, raffle tickets and other items will hopefully be available to those travelling up by coach from the Cherry Red Records Stadium, Kingsmeadow so you all have a chance of collecting superb prizes!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Merton Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Society at the Cherry Red Records Stadium!

The AFC Wimbledon Experience has been a great success this season (so much so that I’m even thinking of submitting a short article for the match-day programme) and one happy band to have come down to see us were the Merton Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Group. They came along to see our recent draw against Aldershot, and like many of our visitors this was their first experience of a football match.

One of the interesting benefits of the AFC Wimbledon Experience has been learning about many of the conditions affecting the youngsters that are visiting us and to be honest I never really understood exactly what Sickle Cell Anaemia was. Apparently it’s all about red blood cells. Normally doughnut shaped they are soft, squidgy and can squeeze through the tiniest of arteries. If you like, blood flow with normal red cells is not unlike small polystyrene balls being sucked up a vacuum cleaner hose. Red blood cells affected by Sickle Cell on the other hand are more rigid and elongated. In that instance blood flow is not unlike trying to suck up twigs. Not only will the sticks not go up small pipes, but quite often there’s a massive blockage – known to sufferers as a ‘crisis’, for obvious reasons. On top of all that the blood cells neither work as well nor live as long as they should, often leading to anaemia. Apart from being very painful, repeated oxygen deprivation to the body’s organs leads them to weaken and fail at an earlier stage. Sadly sickle cell sufferers often fail to see their 50th year.
This is a worrying and debilitating condition for the sufferers and their families who help manage the condition as best they can. For once though, they were all able to get out, meet up, exchange news and enjoy the new experience of celebrating a goal scored by Stacy Long from just in front of their seats!

Haydon as always was a big hit, the burgers hit the spot and they left happily clutching their programmes and wearing their souvenir badges. They were a very friendly group and it was a real pleasure to have them at the ground and I hope they remember their day at AFC Wimbledon with affection!

The Wall of Wombles Art Project - Morden Library

It was quite a sight watching the Wonderful Wall of Wombles being slowly unwound across the library table. Every time I looked it seemed to have grown a few feet longer and I was beginning to doubt whether we would be able to fill it all!

Smile please, Press in the room!
I shouldn’t have worried though. As it turned out we had more than enough wombles to go round although size was still to prove a very tricky issue later down the line…

The Wonderful Wall of Wombles began as a follow up to the summer Paint A Womble project held by AFC Wimbledon in Morden library. This had been a great success with children encouraged to paint, draw or sketch their favourite womble, either from some illustrations or from their own imagination. After having created their wombles the children had then consulted Great Uncle Bulgaria’s large atlas and named their womble through the random pointing of a finger. A method that produced many interesting new womble names…

Second round of photographers. More smiles!
All in all Paint A Womble day had been a great success and Haydon himself had made an appearance to check out the work and to provide his seal of approval on proceedings. Morden library were pleased with the response and the children had a great time. It did seem a pity not to use their splendid pictures in some way though, so we came up with a cunning plan – we would scan them, project them on a banner and copy their outline, allowing the artists and other helpers to reproduce their masterworks in a way that everyone could enjoy! When compete the banner could then be displayed in Morden library and at an AFC Wimbledon home game.

Dad lends a hand

Come the day of the painting there was quite a crowd ready for us to get started, although not all of them were youngsters! Firstly there were two photographers, one from the local Guardian and one from the South London Press. Unfortunately they came at the start of the session, not the end, so there was not too many children around and not too many painted wombles either. Some lucky early birds had their own photo session though and that made their day straight away! The library staff had set everything up for us and we had all we needed and participating artist also left with a few signed copies of recent match programmes, so everything was set for another splendid event

Hard at work!

There was a constant flow of young artists through the morning and several of the original youngsters from the Paint A Womble session came back to work on and complete their own pictures, so it was really nice to see them back again. Parents became absorbed as well and we even had Councillor Nick Draper come along to see what was going on and to lend a welcome hand.

The session continued for several hours before packing up carefully to avoid as much paint smudging as possible.

Next up: The View from Kingsmeadow – How Big Is Your Wall?

Friday 5 October 2012

The Real Challenge at Deen City Farm

As a club we have been helping out with the Real Challenge project over the summer period (see earlier posts) and we were happy to help out one intrepid group of youngsters who's chosen project was to raise awareness of the value of City Farms in general and specifically to try to help raise some funds for Merton's very own Deen City Farm in particular!

They decided to do this in the form of a family fun day and I was happy to take along the WUP Community inflatable to help out. The day raised over £200 for the farm, which is a lot of chicken feed!

We were set up beside the main building close to all amenities!
Deen City Farm are always desperate for funding
and were really pleased with the final total
The sheep didn't seem to mind either...
The Real Challenge Team and supporters at the end of a long day!