My big brother's brill; I love him inside out and back to front. We're different, yet similar, and mutually devoted. He wears a suit, talks the talk, walks the walk and strides with confidence. He's charming, honest, loving and funny. He works in the motor trade (he's award winning) and my god, does he know his stuff.
"Your brother's Top Dog," said Ashley Foster, my cracking sales advisor (from Marshal VW VAN Centre in Bridgewater- with a very beautiful array of vans!)
"He's more than Top Dog, he's the dog's gonads in my eyes", I replied (in a round about way!).
Last month I phoned my big brother Bobby to ask for support in buying Vamos's next touring van. Within a few weeks, he emails me a list of vans that he has wheeled and dealed around at a local dealership. For me it's love at first sight - this WV Grafter is a cool grey, she drives like a dream, she's got air conditioning ("Hurrah!" I hear the actors cry), she's got reversing censors ("Yippee," shout our insurers), she's going to be converted into a six seater WITH WINDOWS IN THE BACK (no more requests from actors on the back row to describe the view, no more "Black Hole of Calcutta" seat from where you feel totally cut off from reality). She's 10 months old and has 9 miles on the clock - HOW ON EARTH did Bobby do that deal? I'll never know. Respect in the trade for Top Dog must go a long way. And my ambition for the future is that we save up for a built-in, Europe-wide Sat Nav system - it's £600 and I've already gone way over budget, but it's a dream for the tours to come.
So thank you so much again to all the individuals that so generously supported our Crowd Funding campaign; thanks to Garfield Weston Foundation for match funding; thank you to Grant Brisland, Vamos's fabulous Chair who wrote the fundraising application; and thank you for the two anonymous £1000 cheques that arrived in the post (and made me cry), one with a note that said:
"We want no recognition, no thanks, please just continue with your wonderful work."
This year has been the most incredible year for me; the explosion of our international touring, the success of our Arts Council NPO, the new artists joining our team of staggering calibre and to top it all off, we have a new van at long last. She will do us proud, make us look very swanky and will be ready for our imminent Finding Joy tour begining in September. DRIVEN WITH CARE, she will deliver us safely to each venue nationwide (coming soon to a theatre near you!).
Our new van can be seen out and about on tour from September 15th, and will be formally named by our top Crowdfunding donor in the Autumn. Click here to see her tour dates!