Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Them's the Rules!

Before everyone embarks on a volley of bidding in our eighth annual festive fundraising auction for our wee boys' visit to Skybound, please, please, please take just a few minutes to read other parts of this blog that explain why we are doing this, please.

#rememberautismisforlifenotjustforchristmas


Here are the rules for Ben and Finlay's '12 Days of Christmas' fundraising auction - 

Bidding starts at 0001 hours on Saturday 01 December 2018 and the auction closes at midnight on Wednesday 12 December 2018. All bids timestamped before the closure time will be considered.

All bids must be made by email to benandfinlay@gmail.com. All bids will be acknowledged by email. Please, please, please state the item number you are bidding on.

Bids by text and Facebook will not be accepted. 

Bids should be in whole pounds only.

Bidders should note that the auction administration is undertaken by a small number of people (ie one person) therefore updates cannot always be done immediately. It may be that someone has outbid you in an earlier email that we haven't had the opportunity to update on the blog.

There is an obligation on bidders to maintain an overview of those items they have bid on as auction administration will not advise you if you have been outbid.

The auctioneer’s decision is final.

Winning bidders will be notified by 0000 on 14 December 2018

Please be patient, we will contact winning bidders by this time. Remember we are managing over 150 separate items.

Items will be dispatched once payment has been received and confirmed. We will strive to deliver before Christmas but this relies on you paying timeously and us having the opportunity to quickly post things, Christmas delivery therefore cannot be guaranteed.

Where items have to be sent by post, the winning bidder will cover the postage. Please note that alcohol will not be sent beyond the UK.

We welcome any queries or questions about the various items on offer via the boys' e-mail address benandfinlay@gmail.com, we'll get back to you with an answer as quickly as possible. 

Happy bidding everyone! 

Please keep sharing with your family and friends, we really do appreciate your support. 

 

Friday, 12 October 2018

O Come All Ye Faithful....and new folk too please!




As most of our most avid readers and true supporters will know, we have been running a self-funded ABA program for Ben and Finlay since 2011. In that time the boys have made remarkable progress and those who follow their adventures on Facebook will see some great examples of this. Like all of you though, of course we only post the best bits on social media and we are very aware that as problems and challenges are tackled, new ones quickly surface to take their place. The boys are now 10 and we are starting to think about puberty with all the changes that will bring and wondering how we help the boys to understand and deal with it all. The program is self-funded, a quite considerable outlay each year but the boys more than justify this investment. We will always be grateful to the many generous people and charities that make it all possible and to the boys’ tutors and consultants Skybound Therapies without whom I have no doubt our wee boys would be drugged up and languishing in some residential facility.

We try to fund the day-to-day stuff ourselves by both working (most families where their children have disabilities like the boys have at least one parent who does not work) and using our savings. We use fundraising to pay for the extras, the things that keep the program fresh, interesting and motivating for the boys. These extras are our bi-annual Skybound workshops in our home and our yearly intensive week of therapy at Skybound's centre in Wales where the boys are exposed to the best possible occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and behavioural therapy. We could not keep going without the help and direction provided by Skybound who are so innovative in this field. The intensive week is the cornerstone of the boys’ program as new assessments are undertaken and new objectives and targets established for the year ahead. It also provides a valuable opportunity for the boys to try new things and be exposed to new opportunities.

Over the last week, we’ve reposted our three ‘reality’ stories that try to provide some insight into the boys’ true difficulties. These underline the absolute need for us to continue to exploit the willingness and expertise of Skybound Therapies in delivering the boys’ fantastically positive development.

We know the boys’ disability is so profound that they will live with us as long as we are able to look after them (hopefully a long, long time yet!) and then who knows what the future will hold for them. They will not lead an independent life but what we are striving to do via their home program is teach them living skills and functional communication (the boys are non-verbal) via the app Proloquo2Go, so that when they are cared for by others they can hopefully communicate their needs and wants and be understood. If you think how far they have come in the last few years in terms of important life skills, we believe they are a good investment but of course we are biased!

The whole annual trip to Wales costs in excess of £7,000 by the time we pay travel and accommodation costs for us and the boys, not to mention the intensive course fees. These costs may seem large but we tend to focus on the spend to save principle that by investing in the boys now, we will hopefully reap the benefits in future years.

It's just a pity that local services don't think the same way……….for now anyway….

It's therefore time to start planning the annual extravaganza that is Ben and Finlay's '12 Days of Christmas' auction to help meet these costs.

The auction entails a vast amount of work as apart from our expert webmaster Colin, we do it all ourselves.

So! We will once again be hosting the boys’ auction between 01 December and 12 December 2018. We of course hugely appreciate everyone who has supported this event in previous years, particularly those who have donated the many wonderful lots and those who have bid so freely in securing them. It would be great if we could get anywhere near the totals raised in previous years as this would make a huge dent in our expenditure for Wales next year.

We are very conscious that there are also so many other equally deserving causes but once again seek your indulgence in supporting the boys to a brighter future. Many organisations now have dedicated national charities they support so our reliance on friends and family and their network of contacts becomes ever more important.

We do hope friends and family will chose to keep helping us. It is never expected but always appreciated

Please everyone, have a look around your homes and workplaces and see if there is anything new that you can donate as a lot in our auction. 

We welcome all donations with open arms, be it a bottle of whisky, a voucher for dinner or a unique souvenir. 

Over the years, we've been incredibly fortunate in securing lots of fabulous lots. We've had everything from a speedboat trip, to a light aircraft flight, to a trip up the towers of the Forth Road Bridge, to a fourball at Gleneagles, to a villa in Spain for a week, to dinner at the Kitchin, to a suite in the Witchery and much, much more!! 

We would also welcome your suggestions of any businesses or organisations that would be worth approaching for a lot. We have letters prepared that we are happy to share if anyone thinks they have a friend or contact who may be able to support us.

We offer truly global exposure and last year achieved a record 25,000+ viewers over the two weeks of business. Hopefully businesses will see this as a valuable marketing opportunity!

We will hopefully have our old favourites but would love some new and different items to generate yet more interest in our two little stars. Speaking of stars, we always have room for a special star item to sit atop the tree; does anyone have a star quality item that could be an instant hit??


With your support we look forward to another fantastic event. Thank you; you don’t know how much your support means! For Ben and Finlay....



Monday, 27 August 2018

The Ben and Finlay Challenge Cup 2018


This year will be our sixth annual game and we are delighted to have secured New Bayview for the match, home of East Fife FC. This also allows us to complete the set whereby we will have played at each of the senior grounds in Fife. Returning to the Levenmouth area has a certain poignancy for Daddy as he was Chief Inspector there in 2010 when the boys were diagnosed.

The game will take place at 1400 on Sunday 23 September 2018. As ever spectators are more than welcome and admission is free.

We are delighted that our friends and colleagues from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are so supportive of this fixture. Now to rally the troops again and patch up the crocks for another 90 minutes! 

Our Police Squad is starting to take shape - 'mon the stalwarts...

1. Stevie Harley
2. Shug Pearce
3. Paul Cochrane
4. Andy Tod
5. Colin Potter
6. Pat Callaghan
7. Barry Tillier
8. Graeme Dursley
9. Tom Nicholson
10. Russell Taylor
11. Mike Nodes
12. Craig McMillan
13. Andrew McDonald
14. Duncan Muir

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Ben and Finlay's European Motorcycle Adventure - The Winners!


Not quite the finish to his grand tour of Europe that we all hoped for, not least our intrepid and very brave outrider Steven Mackay but we are delighted that he is now home and recuperating from his awful injuries. We are priviledged to call you a friend Steven and humbled by your willingness to help our boys to a better future. We wish you a speedy recovery and can't thank you enough for your sacrifices in support of Ben and Finlay.

Upon his return home at the weekend Steven announced the final mileage for his trip. He acknowledges that the final total is slightly truncated, however he did take a mileage reading when he went back to see what was left of his bike. The final mileage from Coaltown of Wemyss to Sarajevo and back is -


2984

We are delighted that so many took part in this fundraiser and I'm sure even more enjoyed Steven's daily blog. It was good to see that he retained his sense of humour even when in ICU!! We had 43 guesstimate sheets returned to us and adding those guesses to several fantastic donations, we amassed a total of £1500. This will enable us to have another two-day workshop with those special people at Skybound. Thank you everyone who took a sheet and guessed the mileage and to those who made some wonderful donations.


It's amazing how many people were so close to the final mileage.


Our winner is Karen Gloag who guessed 2985 - well done Karen, we hope you enjoy your prize, a £100 John Lewis voucher, when you get back from your holidays!


We then had a four-way tie for second and third and we had to consult our motorcyclist as to how we should choose our prizewinners. Steven decreed that the earliest guess should take precedence.


Therefore our second prizewinner with a guess of 2986 made on 20 May is Jeffrey Milne. Well done Jeff, you win a £50 Amazon voucher.


Third prize and a bottle of Moet et Chandon champagne goes to Angela MacDonald who also guessed 2986 but on 22 May. Congratulations Ang!


Apologies to our other two guessers who were so close but were thwarted by the date of their respective guesses. We do hope you understand.


We see that Steven has pledged to continue his travels but suspect his wife might just have other ideas!!


Thank you again everyone for your interest and kindness!



Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Kind people are the best kind of people!

We've been very lucky on this journey to have shared it with some really kind and generous people, without whom our boys wouldn't be where they are today and none more so than Jim Coull. 

Jim has taken part in virtually every fundraising venture we have done and always given generously and encouraged others to do so.

Jim has recently moved job and his marvellous new employers always make a charitable donation to a good cause nominated by the new start. We are humbled and honoured that Jim chose our wee boys to benefit from the benevolence of the Peter Vardy Foundation.

Thank you Jim, your kindness, interest and support will never be forgotten.