Champions of the Flyway!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Guardians Of The Flyway 2018 – The Yorkshire Terriers!

As we finally disembark, dizzied, drooling and vaguely delirious, from the rollercoaster that was Champions of the Flyway 2018, it’s time to reflect on the achievements of my lip-smackin’, record-breakin’, all-conquerin’, love-spreadin’ team, The Zeiss Yorkshire Terriers - and the awareness- and fund-raising successes that we’re proud to have delivered for the project.

Not least among those is the still almost unbelievable final total of over £20,000 – or over $28,000 – that directly funds the joint Birdlife Serbia and Birdlife Croatia projects on the ground to help save our migratory birds on the flyway, and which saw us receive what we considered to be the Champions award that really matters – The Guardians of the Flyway 2018. GO TERRIERS!

And what a ride it’s been. We’re proud to say we smashed records and then re-smashed them time and time again, radically resetting the bar for fundraising efforts, raising more than double the previous single team total and providing no less than a third of the overall 2018 total - a record in itself of $100,000. If I said it was easy, I’d be lying – we put in an inordinate amount of our ‘spare’ time and energy, from autumn last year to right up until the curtain fell last week. But if I said it was enjoyable, from the very start to the very end, well that’d be the truth - it was a blast, an education and an obsession, and a unique opportunity to make a real difference thanks to our thriving and generous wider community. Plenty of fellow teams and prospective participants have asked how we did it, so look out for an upcoming post here in the next week or two dedicated to our fund- and awareness-raising techniques and efforts (and then go ahead and beat us, punks!).

Our team name, which I came up with in order to publicise (and ideally capitalise on) our strong county connection and pride – and, let’s be honest, it sounds better than the Yorkshire Puddings - became more and more appropriate as we went on. Those characteristics of tenacity, grit, determination, and - if you were on the receiving end of our social media carpet-bombing or personal communications, a constant and annoying yapping – successfully encapsulated our team spirit and captured the imagination of our supporters far and wide. (Ikram, I never did tie the pink ribbon in my beard…. Next time eh?).

And what a team. With all efforts focused on spreading the word and shaking the can, I’ve barely had the opportunity to give them the mountains of praise they deserve. To be honest, I’m smugly self-satisfied regarding my team selection – as with all classic teams, we were greater than the sum of our parts, as well as being a self-generating reactor of constant energy, a sixteen-pawed tightly-knit pack of boundless enthusiasm, and perhaps most important of all when it came to actually being together out there in desert, a comedy quartet of unrelenting proportions. I can’t remember a time when my main physical concern at the end of each long day was how much my ribs hurt though excessive laughter, or where the intensity and longevity of our mutual hysterics almost forced us off the road on many occasions. Many was the time I lifted by Zeiss to find the lenses smudged not with desert sand but with the tears of a team captain reduced to the status of a hysterical toddler.

Rich, Darren, Jono, I salute you comrades, you were unbelievable from start to finish, and together we really achieved something tangibly, directly important through our collective efforts. You’re all heroes, and I’m already looking forward to the Terriers reunion - let’s just hope it involves a car we can actually start / unlock / find the handbrake / wind the windows down on…. and maybe we can squeeze in a few hours’ sleep next time, eh?

Only kidding ;-)

So this rabbit walks into a butcher’s shop….