On Friday 30th September, Fi, Kate, Caroline, Eve, Louise, Jeanette, Kay, Pam and I plus special guest Charlie, set off from the new Maggie’s centre at The Christie on Maggie’s Culture Crawl.
We had put the training in (the pub), we had found our trainers from the bottom of the cupboard and one of us, not naming names (clue: she’s our President) even bought supplies of gin-in-a-tin with them. We knew it was going to be a tough slog – 10k, early evening, promise of cultural highlights along the way… but we were mentally prepared and ready for the hours ahead.
Joking aside, we knew that it this wasn’t a hardcore walk (certainly not of Jeanette proportions) and was going to be a fantastic evening and we were definitely not disappointed.
Our taxi dropped us at the starting point of Maggie’s at the Christie, a brand new building designed by Norman Foster specifically for people going for chemo. It really is the most stunning building, with contemporary furniture, designer kettles and a gorgeous roofed decking area and greenhouse, for fresh air even in inclement weather. The towels in the toilets were even Orla Kiely! What a difference to a sterile waiting room – it was easy to see how much this would improve hospital visits for those needing treatment.
After a hot drink, a quick change into our Maggie’s T-shirts and a long wait for a cupboard (we thought it was the toilet), we set off.
Kate was in charge of the map and guiding us to the first stop, so it was good that she ended up being at the back, and having to scream to everyone to stop as we had missed the turning.
Fi and I were pretty chuffed that our first check in point, just behind the main strip of Rusholme, included a free bowl of curry and a couple of pakoras as we hadn’t had time for tea. Entertainment was provided in the form of some Bollywood dancing and henna tattoos. See, told you it was going to be a hard night 🙂
The next stop on the way was the beautiful Whitworth Art Gallery complete with nude life model. Whilst some members stayed and partook in the class, Charlie and I took the opportunity to have a look round the gallery without kids. Bliss.
Caroline was convinced that Grayson Perry would make a guest appearance at the Culture Crawl, having seen him mention he was coming to Manchester on Twitter. Amazingly, he was actually at the Whitworth, but only for a private function. Lou and Fi managed to catch a glimpse of him in the flesh whilst the rest of us made do with zooming in on him having his dinner in the glass restaurant with our iPhones. Not stalker like at all. At. All.
Onwards to our next port of call, a private string quartet performance at the Royal Northern College of Music, partnered with a swift beverage from the bar. By this point we were
getting very weary just getting started.
Off again, and past the Vimto sculpture behind Oxford Road, to the London Fire Station. It has been open recently for tours before it is completely refurbished, but we just got a sneaky peak into the Coroners Court. Jonathan Schofield did a quick talk on the history of this beautiful Manchester Landmark, and there was an opportunity to grab a handful of biscuits before we headed off again.
Last stop was Chethams School of Music. I’ve never had the opportunity to go in this building before, but if you ever get the chance, go. Its so beautiful and very, very old. As we arrived we were greeted with a medal (unexpected) and the wall in Chethams had been lined with paper bags housing tealights with messages written on by participants earlier in the evening. It was the only sombre part of the evening, and a lovely touch. No time to dwell though, the focus of this event was enjoyment and after a quick tour of the library, and a terrible selfie at the table Karl Marx used to sit at, it was downstairs for a glass of fizz and nibbles. Or in Pam’s case, two glasses of fizz and then sod it give us a bottle.
All in all, a great night out. We all felt a bit guilty for being sponsored to have such a lovely time, but I don’t think anyone begrudges giving money to such a great establishment as Maggies.
More information about Maggies here.