WANTED
18,000!

In August, 2002, the parish community of Sacred Heart and Christ the King in Grangemouth were given a massive task by Parish Priest, Father Leo Glancy -
raise 18.000 for a new Church organ.
A committee was formed; Organist, Brian Sweeney; Choir Members, Margaret Sweeney, Rose Watt and Margaret O'Donnell and their Webmaster, Diana Hunter.

 
And they did it..........
with a little bit of help from Taggart!

This is their fascinating story as told by Diana Hunter.

Our working Mission Statement is :

We the Parish Community of Sacred Heart and Christ the King, Grangemouth, following in the tradition of our founders, are happy to belong to the Church in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh as members of St Mungo's Deanery.
Over the years we have become valued members of the Grangemouth Council of Churches. We are commited to valuing and maintaining the energies given to building Sacred Heart Church and Christ the King Church Centre in Grangemouth, reaching out to the whole community with worship at the heart. Today we are called to pray and to work ever more closely together in a spirit of reconciliation to witness the love of Christ to the poor and the needy.
 
Hi, I'm Diana Hunter.
In August 2002, I was approached and asked if I would like to help raise funds for a new church organ,  Fr Leo had given the church organist Brian Sweeney the go ahead to organise a committee to raise the massive sum of 18,000 to replace the ageing church organ.Not an easy task as our committee consisted of only 5 people, the church organist, Brian Sweeney, his wife Margaret Sweeney, Rose Watt and Margaret O'Donnell who were all in the church choir, and
myself.I'm not quite sure why they asked me, maybe someone told them that I was unlikely to say no.


18,000 I thought to myself....

this is going to be a life long fund raising event!  Never in a million years did any of us think we would be able to raise this amount of money quickly, let alone achieve this in the 18 months that we did it in.

Fr. Leo Glancy


Our fund raising events included a Celidh, Daffodil Tea Afternoon, Taste of Europe evening, Jumble sale, a Charity shop which was open for a week and a Bonus Ball based on the bonus ball drawn on Saturday by the National Lottery.  But our main fund raising event was with the radio show recorded by BBC Radio Scotland.  A lot of hard work went into all of these events, I sometimes felt that I didn't do as much as the other members in the committee but my feet would always tell me differently at the end of the day or evenings. 
 

Before I tell you about
the BBC show here
is one story I have
to share with you.

Committee member, Margaret O'Donnell was in conversation with a customer about their respective sons. 
Margaret said to the lady; "Your son must know my son if they are the same age, they must have went to school together, my son's name is Daniel, Daniel O'Donnell."

At the mention of his name, another customer suddenly spun around, a look of great excitement on her face.
Unfortunately we had to explain. "Nooo, not "the Daniel
O'Donnell", my son just has the name Daniel".
Eventually we were all falling about in peals of laughter as
she realised her mistake.
 
...............................................................................................................
 
"I contacted Radio Scotland's 'Lets Do the Show Right Here' and the producer phoned me back to say that they were interested in my idea" Margaret Sweeney said, very excitedly.
At this point I didn't have the heart to actually ask what she was on about. I had never heard of the programme and was only aware that the radio station actually existed.
"I am going to go back into writing," says Margaret. "My brother-in-law has persuaded me to do this." She then told me of how she used to write a lot when her father in law was alive. He was the one true
believer in her ability to write and how she stopped writing when he died. Margaret had decided that she would like to put on a murder mystery evening for the show but instead of the BBC supplying us with a writer she wanted to write the play herself and hope that the BBC would then put the money they save toward a good actor/celebrity to be in the play.
Now, I'm jumping ahead here, at this point the rest of the committee - that's me, Rose and the other Margaret had absolutely no idea what was going to be involved in all of this.
We had a meeting in Brian and Margaret's home.  We were told that we were putting on a murder mystery evening and that we would need to provide some local talent, we would need a venue and we would have to think about catering.  To be honest the rest of us still really didn't have a clue what was involved as we were none the wiser about Lets Do the Show Right Here....I'm going to abbreviate that now to LDTSRH, but we were a willing committee and always open to new fund raising ideas so we started with a list of people who would possibly be able to entertain us that evening.
I immediately volunteered my two nieces Stephanie and Paula Zak ( watch out for Paula this year in Pop Idol...I wonder if she knows yet that I have sent her application form in for her ...hahahaha).
Rose volunteers her granddaughter Amiee, a superb cellist (watch out for her too in the near future).

Brian wonders out aloud if he could approach a local business man in our congregation that owns a very busy restaurant/bistro if he would be willing to provide the location.  Well he could only say no, after that we would be looking at local community halls as possible venues.

Paula & Maria
eat your heart out Pop Idols

St. Francis Xaviour Group

TICKETS : PROGRAMMES : POSTERS
......................................................................................
We needed to come up with a price for tickets too. The price would have to reflect the entertainment value and food being supplied. I volunteered to design the tickets, programme, posters and flyers on my computer using a leaflet that LDTSHR had provided.

Fleming McLay & Co.

Also Brian was going to approach local businesses for donations of prizes for the grand prize draw.

BEANCROSS FARM
CONFIRMED AS THE VENUE

It was confirmed, Gerry Finn had agreed that we could use the Beancross Farm Restaurant as the venue.  Superb. but the best bit to come was seeing the actual function suite, it was magnificent, a popular venue for weddings. 

..................................................................................................................
WE MEET THE BBC PRODUCERS
The next meeting would actually be with the producers of the BBC.  Margaret was keeping so much under her hat and was only giving out the information as it was being confirmed by the BBC.  No one yet had any idea how big this was going to be. Arriving at the restaurant, the rest of us were introduced to the production team, Mairihd Anne and Karen. Mairihd Anne asked if she could record our talk.
Everything inside of me screamed in excitement - we were being recorded for the radio! On the outside I smiled calmly and said certainly go ahead.  Now I was getting excited about that but there was more to come.
First we were shown around the Beancross farm by Gerry and then we sat down to discuss what was going to happen. 
"How many people are you hoping to attract to this event?" About 200 people, I wasn't at this time worried about the number. 

"I've written a play and I would like the committee to act in it."

When Margaret says this to the production team, I tried not to choke into my cup of coffee and like the rest of the committee we politely laughed - "Oh what a good idea!!!!"
Plus - Gerry Finn agrees to provide the catering. 

PRESENTER

JACKIE BIRD

Well personally I was flabbergasted but absolutely delighted.
Not only did we have a lovely venue - but the food was being provided too.  I was beginning to think this is going to be an easy event to organise...
Oh, how foolish I was thinking that way.

But the penny was starting to drop, this was going to be quite an event to organise and to top it all we were going to have to act in the play.
In between the two meetings I had been busy on the computer designing tickets, posters, flyers and a programme, using what little information I had between the first meeting and finding out where our venue was and who we thought were going to entertain us that evening. 
The production team very kindly gave me some more advice and said they would provide pictures of Jackie Bird, the presenter of the show, and official logos for the show to put on the leaflets and programme. 

The WORKERS
Irene; Diana; Zena; Rose;
Bernardette, Margaret & Jim

Everything seemed very exciting as we had quite a few semi professional people lined up to entertain us.  It was also agreed to keep the play as three short acts and have the other entertainment in-between.

. . . . . . . . .FOUR WEEKS TO GO !
Four weeks prior to the show we had a second meeting with the BBC production team.  Everything was fine with the venue, my tickets were ready for printing, my posters were just waiting for confirmation of our celebrity and Brian was busy approaching businesses to advertise in the programme.  We still hadn't had confirmation from all of the people we had asked to entertain us but we had to have some kind of programme for the evening set up. 
.The production team introduced Margaret to a scriptwriter who would advise her on how to set her story down in play form. The play would now be three short acts, each lasting five minutes and the production team suggested we enlist the help of a local drama group so that we as committee members would be free to supervise the evening - which was excellent news to us. The idea of supervising on the night was much more appealing.
.
James Macpherson from Taggart is to be our celebrity

It was finally confirmed that our star of the evening would be James Macpherson. Everybody was over the moon with excitement at the news. He was our shining star in the middle of what seemed to turning into a disaster area!

 
We had obtained permission from our local library to sell tickets there.  It started off as a bit of a nightmare.  No one knew what  LDTSRH was all about, we dare not tell the public that we still didn't have the entertainment lined up yet.
Rehearsals still hadn't started as the production team were thinking about using a play written by their own writer Denise Miner and we were worried that the whole thing was being taken out of Margaret's hands.
We had just pulled off a publicity stunt with the help of  the Falkirk Herald - our local paper - and we just didn't know if it was going to make any difference to the sale of tickets, as we had already publicised the fact that it was being written by a local person.
The publicity stunt that was due to be published in our local paper involve me acting as a dead body with Margaret, Julie Reid, a member of the drama group and Brian standing over me. 

James & Jackie with
Francesca, Philip, Siobhan'
& Megan.


AN INCOMPLETED PLAY - NO SUPPORTING ACTS - NO REHEARSALS
Once the story was published, tickets sales picked up and amazingly we sold all 200 tickets knowing that we didn't yet have a fully written play, no acts in between the play and no rehearsals.  Meanwhile I was busy producing a programme with advertisements that we had managed to get local businesses to pay for in our programme. 

Our only confirmed line up were my two nieces and their friend, plus Rose's grand-daughter, the award winning cellist. 
I remember one of the first questions the production team put to Rose :
"Are you sure your grand-daughter won't mind being volunteered for this show Rose?" Here reply is one of the best quotes aired on the actual radio show on 31st October 2003. "There's more chance of the Pope leading the Orange Parade than for my grand-daughter to say no!"

........"it must have been the power of prayer....."
Finally with two weeks to go, each and everyone of us in that committee must have been praying hard because miraculously we had more acts than we could actually use and sadly had to refuse some offers of entertainment.
The local drama group were in full swing with rehearsals and the play was all Margaret's own work and on the Sunday before the show we had our one and only full rehearsal without the BBC team.
 
IT'll BE ALL RIGHT ON THE NIGHT..............
On the day of the show we got to meet Jackie Bird  and James Macpherson, they were absolutely lovely people and very kindly posed with the children to have pictures taken.
During the afternoon rehearsals Margaret and I sat watching the BBC create an amazing transformation and turn what we thought would be a fairly good show into an amazing professional production.

That evening there were over 200 people in the function suite

The entertainment was first class
as was the buffet provided by Gerry Finn.

the prizes that had been donated included helicopter rides and flights, tickets to the Royal Yacht Britannia and to Vincent in Brixton show, bottles of wine and golfing umbrellas to name a few, we had volunteer helpers from the church to help with directing people to their seats and sell raffle tickets,

We were on cloud nine with the success of the evening.

The show was aired on Halloween and it was very, very entertaining. On the evening we raised just under 4,000 for the church organ - plus, there was still money to come in from ticket sales and there were a few donations after the evening as well. Margaret entertained us that evening with a poem and is enjoying writing again.
All the money has now been raised for the church organ. And with it's job successfully completed the organ committee has now been disbanded. 
.

by
Margaret Todd Sweeney

The Play was broadcast on on
31st. October, 2003,
as part of BBC Radio Scotland's
'Lets Do The Show Right Here'
The soundtrack has also been put on to tape
for the enjoyment of the visually impaired.

copyright 2004
This web feature was produced in collaboration by
Diana Hunter : webmaster :
Sacred Heart&Christ The King;Grangemouth
and
Bernard Stanley : webmaster :
Holy Family Church, Langley