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The last year has been overwhelming on several fronts. We have seen James rise to the greatest challenge of his life and many of those he has touched have responded with incredible generosity and kind support. The Foundation would like to recap some of the major events of 2009.

Following is a synopsis of the many and varied fundraising initiatives that were undertaken in 2009.  All have made donations to the Puffin Magic Foundation. 

Many companies have matching employee donation programs.  We’ve already benefitted from two such programs at Google and Goldman-Sachs.  The request for a matching donation, however, has to come from the employee.

In January 2009, a Garden Party organised by the Goonies Motorcycle and Recreation Club (prior to the establishment of the Foundation) was held on Shark Island.  Sadly, it was the last of these annual events to be held at this beautiful location in Sydney Harbour.  This was the Foundation's first fundraising donation and was matched by Google - off to a fine start!

James Waterson organised some of James Gribble’s former colleagues at Bank of Scotland (otherwise known as the Golfing Scots) to play on three occasions over the course of 2009, making contributions each time.  Some of the money was raised by having a draw for a puffin golf head cover - a nod to Peter Puffin, of course.

Gavan Carroll made a donation from Oliver King’s Buck’s Party in April.  One wonders how this money was raised  but dares not ask.

Samantha Blake sent a donation on behalf of the Calyon Loan Syndication Team that was the result of their 2009 Lent Challenge.  It involved financial penalties for not observing the customary promised sacrifices during the Lenten season and somehow they managed to enjoy it.

In May, Felicity Cheung and Kirsty Hayes organised cake sales at two Bank of Scotland offices.  You can only marvel at their resourcefulness and hard work - having over 2,000 cakes and cupcakes donated and selling them all.

Rob Shakespeare organised a trip to the ballet at Covent Garden.  He was able to convince people to pay grossly inflated prices for ‘nosebleed’ seats, to great effect.

In June came the inaugural Puffin Magic Ball in Sydney.  Organised by an army of puffins, a total of 941 guests  attended and vigourously supported an outstanding auction.  The night included the world premiere of James’ video and was James’ first public appearance after his accident.  The atmosphere was electric.

In June, Will and George Close-Brooks undertook a bike ride from Skomer Island off the coast of Wales (and home to a puffin colony) to Australia House in London - a total of 265 miles in just under 48 hours.  To be sure, they commanded the support (both logistical and financial) of  every single family member and friend they have.

Still in June, Kristina Richmond Smith pedalled from London to Brighton with 27,000 other cyclists.  It’s only ( ! ) 54 miles and ‘whoever said it was flat was lying’, says Kristina.  Her sponsorship far exceeded her expectations, so it was a happy outcome all round.

In July, Barrie Williams organised a Market Golf Day at Nizel’s Golf and Country Club, complete with a live auction afterward. By all accounts it was a fabulous day, despite the searing heat.  With 15 teams participating, the competition was as ferocious at the auction as it was on the course.

There are recurring offerings from James’ golf ing friends in the U.K.  Donations just keep popping up.
     Nick Hoof from the Bank of Scotland London Golf Club (twice)
     Martyn Drake from the Silvermere Golf Day
     Jamie Stirling from the Khyber Golf Club Weekend
As the saying goes, it’s hard work but someone has to do it.

From James McGeoch came a donation from ‘Darts at The Old George Inn’.  It must have been a lively competition.

Still in July, Thomas Dux Lane Cove, Sydney, purveyors of fine foods, donated the proceeds from their coffee morning one Saturday, arranged by Judy Smith, James’ aunt.

Not to be outdone, James’ mother, Dee, organised a Puffin Day at her school at Homebush West.  The children learned about spinal cord injuries as well as puffins.

At the end of July, Richard Post, Alex McGee, Andrew Mower and Will Vogel (with Luke Dillon on standby) swam the English Channel.  They had the fastest crossing for a four-person relay to that date in 2009.  However, it must be noted that they used those strong arms for more than swimming, resulting in an enormous number of donations from all around the globe.

In August, a number of James’ colleagues from his Kaupthing days gathered to run various races in the annual runnning festival in Reykjavik, Iceland.  Richard Hughes, Thora Helgadottir, Oliver Greenslade. Henri Hottinger and Leila trained for months for the event, all the while eliciting sponsorship from far and wide.  With Olga Tavolzhanskaya and others, they regrouped in October at the Pitcher and Piano for a certain Kaput-thing anniversary, making a further donation.

September brought marathon season. 
     Julie Brinkley’s Bristol Half Marathon
     NicNac’s Half Marathon, London (that’s Nicola Hoare)
     Bethan’s Berlin Run (Bethan Lloyd)
     Lloyd’s City-2-Surf, Sydney (Lloyd O’Donnell)
     Claire’s Half Marathon Sydney (Claire Best)
Never underestimate the amount of training that goes into a marathon.  Then they all made generous donations, as well.

In September, Penny Gribble, Emma Barrett, Georgie Fasher, Liz Jackson and Ella Vial walked the challenging and dangerous Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.  Now, this involved some serious training.  You’ll be pleased to know that they survived the challenge.

Joan Street had a special birthday and requested that her friends make donations to the Foundation in lieu of birthday gifts which was a very thoughtful gesture..

In early October there was a Golf Day, Dinner and Auction at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney, organised by Simon Brown.  The golfers endured the exceedingly windy conditions with good nature and stayed on for dinner and auction with James himself in attendance, accompanied by the lovely Sarah.

Then there was a donation from the Great Hunters Hill Melbourne Cup Overcatering Debacle of 2009, but rhat’s a long story.

The Gourmet Italian Long Lunch in November, graciously hosted by Ray and Loris McLoughlin, was everything it set out to be - gourmet, Italian and exceedingly long.  A good time was had by all.

November 5th brought the International Rugby Dinner in London organised by Dan Hough.  Described as a ‘big boys’ dinner’, it lived up to its reputation and proved to be a wild and successful fundraiser.  Incriminating video footage abounds.

Martin Gribble survived his kayak trip down the 2200 kilometres of the Murray River.  His Puffin Paddle began on the first anniversay of James’ accident.  Martin anticipated it would take 40-60 days - an audacious venture, to be sure.  And he made it home for Christmas.  His highly-entertaining blog revealed how a man copes with that amount of time alone with his paddle and his rambling thoughts.   (http://puffinpaddle.wordpress.com/)

There are rumours of more daring undertakings to come in 2010 - in April, Rob Shakespeare and Al Brierley intend to run the demanding Marathon des Sables in the Moroccan desert and Toby Warren is planning to take a team to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

So, you can see that the ingenuity of James’ friends in raising funds has been just amazing.  There are legions of unsung heroes behind all of the above events who are to be applauded for their efforts, not to mention the generosity of those who have donated valuable items for auction.  And where would the Foundation be without all the generous donors and sponsors?  The devotion of James’ fans has been truly touching.  And the courage shown by James in his superhuman efforts to deal with his current condition makes it all worthwhile.



Puffin Magic Long Lunch 'The Italian Job' at Bar Machiavelli. Saturday, 7 October 2017, 12 - 4:30 PM, Places strictly limited. Book your tickets now!

To view all details click here

See James showing off his Golfing Skills in Golf Australia Magazine!

To view all details click here

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