Inaugural me&dee Team Challenge - a great success
The date: the fourth of October 2019. The place: the Courtyard at Thoresby Park. The event: the inaugural me&dee Team Challenge.
There was a buzz of excitement in the room. The sound of chatter filled the air, people were wondering and discussing what might lie in store for them. Teams from Keylite Roof Windows Ltd and Document Network Services Ltd waited in anticipation to find out what challenges lay ahead.
“Welcome” Ashley Wood, Director of Meridian Iliffe, said to the gathering of people who were dressed in various forms of outdoor gear. From a military ensemble to outdoor running clothes, from fleeces to waterproofs, from trainers to walking boots. So many different variations of clothing suitable for outdoor walking.
It was a grey and drizzly October Friday. We were in a conference room within the precinct of the impressive Grade 11 listed buildings and courtyard that used to be the Stables for Thoresby Hall. Teams were sitting around square tables, volunteers hovered around the edges, others were out and about in the grounds setting up the activities.
Gold and silver medals, attached to pale blue ribbons, glinted on the table. The crystal trophy, crowned with a blue globe, reflected the light from the projector at the head of the room. Only one team would walk away with this prize. The competition was afoot.
“Welcome” Ashley said again, a bit louder this time. The room quietened down.
After a quick greeting Ashley reminded people why we were gathered here today. Yes, there was a coveted trophy to be won, but the purpose of the day was much bigger than that. The reason why so many people were now congregated in this place was to raise money to help me&dee Charity buy a lovely, luxurious lodge in Sherwood Hideaway. The charity needs this to be able to give more families a chance to make special memories in the short amount of time that they have remaining, rather than wasting that precious time travelling the uncomfortable and often painful 100 miles to Mablethorpe.
He invited Maria Hanson MBE to talk about the charity. It was a sobering moment. The emotion was palpable. Eyes were welling up as Maria talked about the families that me&dee had not been able to help. Families with children who had endured horrific surgery. Families with mothers or fathers who had cancer. Families who had run out of time and had missed the chance to make those memories that most of us take for granted.
Maria then handed back to Ashley, who briefed the teams about the rules of engagement for the day. You could feel the energy, once again, lift and fill the room. You could sense the renewed purpose in the teams for the day. Excited voices bounced around the room, laughter and repartee ricocheted between the teams as they jostled to gain the upper hand in the competition. It was like a roomful of Muhammed Ali’s bouncing around on their toes singing “Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee.”
The day started with a test of their map reading skills. This was a crucial component needed by the teams, if they were to successfully navigate the rest of the day. Circles of heads bent down in concentration as the teams ploughed through the quiz, in an effort to complete it before the allocated time ran out.
Then it was out into the Courtyard. A quick but impatient stop for “before” photos, then the teams jumped onto the bus to head out to their first challenge.
The teams had to navigate their way through six activities. In the Beat the Clock activity, sponsored appropriately by Nick Lowthian of Patronus Security UK Ltd, the team members had to decipher a clue left by persons unknown in order to defuse a radioactive device, that could cause untold damage for miles around. Once the code had been cracked, then the physical element of disarming the device became clear, but not easy.
In the Tight Spot activity, sponsored by L Lynch Plant Hire, and supervised by Derbyshire Cave Rescue team members Roy Rogers (yes really!) and Pete Dell, the teams had to dig deep to find their way through an enclosed chamber. There were multiple options and some proved harder to navigate than others. Only a few made it through the most dangerous Brexit Exit to gain the maximum advantage for their team.
In all, six challenges, across several miles around the Thoresby Park, were found and conquered to varying degrees by the team. But that was not the end of it. On the way back from the final challenge, the teams had to fathom a number of extra cerebral challenges.
Once back at Control the teams waited with bated breath for the scores to be collected and counted. Cream scones and Prosecco helped to distract the teams in the nervous wait. Everyone knew it was too close to call.
After about half an hour the winners were announced. In first place, Keylite Roof Windows Ltd, captained by Jim Blanthorne. Cheers echoed around the room. The runners up, Document Network Services Ltd captained for the day by Hugh Sutherland. Both captains did their companies proud. Both teams demonstrated marvelous energy and teamwork throughout the whole day. Both teams showed great sportsmanship and generosity of spirit to each other. The winning team didn’t laud it over the others, and the runners up quickly got over their disappointment and offered heartfelt congratulations to the winners.
Everyone knew that the real winner was me&dee Charity.
The trophy was presented to the winners by Maria Hanson MBE and medals were handed out to all participants.
Following on from the event, all the teams will benefit from undertaking a Belbin Team Roles diagnostic, kindly donated by Belbin UK Ltd. They will use the report to assess their team behaviours and identify how they can work better together going forward. Not least in order to win or retain the trophy next year.
There are so many people to thank who helped to make this day happen. First of all, we would like to thank our fellow sponsors:
Thank you to our teams:
- Document Network Service Ltd
- Keylite Roof Windows Ltd
- M Gladwin Electrical Ltd (who unfortunately couldn’t attend on the day)
Thank you to our other financial contributors:
- Colin Temple
- Don Moore
- Dawn Satchwell
- John Redfern
- Roberts Travel Group Ltd
- Christine Higgins of Inspired Storm
- Carol Ewels of Always Consult Ltd
Thank you for the discounted services of:
- Dave Watson and Tara from Woodland Survival Crafts
- Di Fisher from The PhotoDen
- Roy Rogers and Pete Dell from Derbyshire Cave Rescue
- The Bay Tree Café in the Courtyard of Thoresby Park
- The Butlers Pantry
Thank you to Harvey Glenn and Helen Eshelby from Thoresby Park for all your support and allowing the event to take place at the Courtyard and in the grounds of the estate. Thank you for the use of Century House for the volunteers the night before the event.
There are two people who have made the biggest contribution of their own time and expertise. They have spent countless days, over the last few weeks, designing, planning and organizing the event. Without them the event would never have got off the ground. So extra special thanks go to:
- Ashley Wood
- Mick Earle
Also, a big thank you to others who donated a substantial amount of their time and expertise in the lead up to the event:
- Steve Boulton
- Don Moore (who although he wasn’t able to attend on the day helped immensely in promoting the event.)
And a big thank you to the following for your time and expertise on the day:
- Brian Dannatt*
- Dawn Satchwell
- Lorraine Turnpenny
- Michael McHardy and his team from St John’s Ambulance, (whose services, we are proud to say, were not called upon!)
*Brian was ably assisted by his 5 year-old son, Jacob, without whom the day just wouldn’t have been the same.
Thank you so much to each and every one of you. It was great working alongside each and every one of you and I look forward to us doing it all over again next year.
If you are interested in taking part in next year's challenge, or sponsoring the event please do get in touch. Click here for information about the 2020 me&dee team challenge event.