Wednesday, 10 April 2013

How Runway on the Runway made Manchester Sparkle

Well, I think we can safely say that Runway on the Runway was a spectacular success. The hard work of the production and co-ordinating team, the schools, the charities, the contributors and the sponsors all came together to produce an outstanding event which can only raise awareness of teenage cancer and, hopefully, has contributed heavily to its funding pot.

We were literally swept into the Concorde Hangar by an arctic wind which those poor bods at the welcome desk were forced to endure most of the evening. Inside, it has to be said, it wasn't much warmer - such hot air as was being generated by heaters was whooshing straight out through the hangar roof! But it really didn't matter because, at the risk of using a well-worn cliché, the warmth of the mood inside was more than enough to keep everyone happy. Right from the moment you walked into the colourfully lit hangar where Concorde takes centre stage, you couldn't help but be impressed. The catwalk was running underneath those iconic triangular wings and was painted black with small red and white lights down the centre and sides to represent an airport runway. At one end three large screens were to tell the stories of the three Runway 'cover girls' - Alice Pyne, Lucie Carrington and Olivia Cork. The whole event was dedicated to the memory of Alice, who tragically gave up her battle with cancer on 12th January, and whose parents and sister were in the audience. However, her infamous Bucket Blog and the extraordinary sums of money she raised for charity, are a lasting legacy of a remarkable young woman who made the most of every moment she had left to her on this earth.

The schools were all incredible. They had worked so hard - the focus always on this one evening - to be the best they could, modelling the clothes of their designated designer with the best wit and style they could muster. Their obvious thrill at finally being on the runway, after all the months of preparation and anticipation, was completely infectious. James 'Caino' Cain (with a touch of the Alan Carr's about him!) was our exhuberant compere for the evening, adding loads of energy and humour to the runway. This was especially valuable when, shortly before the interval, there was a loud bang and suddenly half the lights (and the heaters!) went off. James coped with the hiccup admirably, masterminding the raffle and then encouraging us all to go and spend a prolonged break beside the cocktail bar!

Behind the scenes it was all happening with a new generator being brought in from a fair few miles away. In an admirably short space of time, given the potential drama, the show was up and running again as the final five schools came on to strut their stuff. The best, however, was saved till last when the final group of young people to take to the catwalk were the very people we were all there to raise money and awareness for - victims of teenage cancer. It was extraordinarily moving to see those who have suffered so much in their young lives giving so much back and so clearly revelling in their moment in the spotlight. All the more so when, for many of them, their future was still so very uncertain. It was a truly humbling moment and one which will stay with me always.

The objectives of the evening - to raise awareness in the North West of the three charities, to raise vital funds and to present a fantastic show in which the young participants could really sparkle - had been resoundingly and emphatically met.

For more information on the people and charities involved, or if you feel you would like to donate or become involved yourself in any way, please visit the Runway on the Runway website.

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