The Soul Train departed last Saturday evening to raise money for local animal charities and what an incredible journey it was.
George Rimmer took some time to tell us about the event with photographs by Norman Clark.
Soul Train – a look behind the scenes
Sometimes in life the unexplained happens, it happened to me when I had been out one Sunday afternoon and had enjoyed a nice meal, great company and a bottle of wine. Later on, at home we started chatting about some of the great social events we have attended over the years and when I suggested to my wife and better half Chris that we should do a soul train party to raise much needed funds for the charities, it seemed lıke a good idea. I dropped a message onto Facebook asking if anybody would be interested and within 24 hours had more than 200 positive replies! The concept was born.
We adopted the approach of ‘Working Hand in Hand’ and originally had planned to combine both Animal and Children’s charities at the same event, we quickly learned that this wasn’t practical and chose to run the animal charity first and held individual meetings with each of these charities with a clear set of goals :
1, Charities working together are more powerful than when competing with each other.
2, To find a way of really capturing a larger volume of Turkish involvement and felt Hayvan Dostları (as was) offered us this opportunity.
3, We wanted to include education as part of our mix and supporting the new Çalış education centre delivered this wish.
4, We wanted to give all of the volunteers who work so hard day in and day out a dam good night without the stress of arranging the event.
5, We wanted to assemble a set of Raffle, Auction and Silent Auction prizes that would Wow people and raise a substantial sum.
6, To make this happen we needed a management team that contained only the best of the best.
We chose our venue, Bakraç Beach Park in Çalış very carefully, this offered us everthing we wanted and more. I will let you into a secret here, we negotiated with the venue on 300 attendees and left that meeting with some trepidation as to whether we would achieve anything like that number. Legalities dictated that we could have 620 maximum, we printed this amount of tickets with none of us feeling that we had any chance of selling anything like that number, but we sold out and as it turned out we could have easily sold another 100 but thank goodness we didn’t !
Value for money was at the forefront of our minds, we decided to keep our main ticket prices at 45 lira, the same price charged at the Beach Party in 2016, but this time we had 3 DJs, Two different live acts, a live drone screening real time video onto a massive LED screen, a foam party and of course a really nice meal and with the current exchange rate at over 6 to the £ compared with 3.80 in 2016 we thought that this event represented even greater value for money.
On the night
Of course nothing this big will go without a hitch and we had a few gremlins on the night but overall it was a fantastic success. The dance floor was always packed, our live artist’s Mr Rod Stewart and Ta Lu and Arturo were appreciated and loudly applauded and our audience was the most generous and fun loving I have ever had the privilege to entertaın, nearly everyone stayed on for the foam where we had about 400 people revelling and soaked to the skin, the fun and laughter was infectious and filled the venue.
As for our main task of earning funds for our animal charities, we made an astonishing 28,000 TL which meant each of or four charity partners benefitted by 7,000 TL each. It was a truly amazing night.
Thank you so much our tremendous committee of :
Gill Sanderson, Karen Okka, Umit Kasim, Christine Rimmer, Teresa Church and Jill Rinaldi, you are superstars.
Special thanks must go to all of our ticket sellers but especially the Mulberry Tree and Bambu Bar, Martin Palmer for his fabulous design work. Uptown and Lee’s bar in Çalis for their help in securing our live artists Ta Lu, Arturo and Rod Stewart.
Süleyman Akbay for help dealing with the Jandarma, Zabita and Kaymakam. Lyn Ward for helping us understand how to navigate the massively complex Turkish charity system. Nebi and Figan from Bakraç Beach where nothing was ever too much trouble. Everyone who generously gave items to include in our raffle, mini and silent auction, you are too numerous to mention. Our charity partners Animal Aid, HAYED, HAYDOS and Köyceğiz AWG who contributed so generously and bussed in hundreds of people and of course, to all of the lovely people who attended on the night and have been so kind in their feedback.
A final word…
In the words of Don Cornelius, founder and presenter of Soul Train, we wish you Love, Peace & Soul.