Meeting Santa and drawing prizes

I get to welcome Santa at the YMCA 2005 Dance Show held at St Mary’s School. The YMCA does a lot for kids in our area. It’s a shame that Haringey Council doesn’t count them as a partner and help their work – as it is one of the organisations that actually does something about giving youngsters alternatives to misbehaviour. Sadly, Haringey Council does not seem particularly interested in these sort of alternatives. The YMCA also recently set up a nursery for single mums – really fantastic – and organises the annual Fun Run!

Anyway – back to the dance show. An extraordinary number of children took part – aged about 4 -18 I would guess. Lots and lots and lots of short dances ranging from modern to ballet to tap and street dance. Kids on. Kids off. Gorgeous and talented. My kids are too old now to do shows at their school – but I remember crying every year when they used to. There is something so pure and so wonderful about kids performing. And the talent on show – absolutely unbelievable.

The pianist for the first section was introduced – Krystyna Budzynska. I thought that name sounds familiar – well you would wouldn’t you?

So at the end I go on stage to welcome Santa. I hear music, Santa must be coming … and we wait – and wait. The chap who told me what to do suggested that as the music played I should leave the stage – but Santa was still sorting himself out. Eventually he arrived and distributed presents to all the children who took part.

And as I left the stage and passed the piano, I said to the pianist, “Did you go to South Hampstead?” She looked at me and said, “Lynne? Lynne Ryness?” We had been in the same class and hadn’t seen each other for about 35 years! Now that was really lovely.

In the late afternoon I set out for Kingston where I am doing the Liberal Democrats Christmas Prize Draw at a dinner. The Christmas Prize Draw is one of the big fund-raisers for the Lib Dems and is a national one with really fantastic prizes. There are 50 prizes to be drawn for. It takes me two hours to get there. I drive because I know I will be coming home late – and then remember why I hate driving in London! The dinner is very pleasant and Ed Davey – the local Lib Dem MP – comes over at the end of the meal to say he will introduce me and then I will speak.

So I did. And then the hard work began. The tubs holding upwards of 45,000 tickets were deep – and I needed to be sure that I took from every corner of all three containers and at every depth! After the first 30 or so (which happily did seem to cover the length and breadth of Britain) – I decided that Ed should do some work and handed over to him for the last 20. It only took and hour and a quarter coming back. Partly less traffic – but coming back is always quicker than going doncha find?