Monday, 30 December 2019

The Sun Never Sets On Ronald McDonald

The Sun Never Sets On Ronald McDonald

My family has always supported Ronald McDonald House Charities. When Rebekah was in Guys Hospital receiving her kidney transplant we were among the first families to stay in the very first Ronald McDonald House in Britain’

There are 365 Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the world. Each places a loving arm around families who have a child sick in hospital. When a child needs specialist treatment it can be in a hospital away from home. Ronald McDonald then provides accommodation keeping families together.

Ronald McDonald Houses are totally separate from McDonald’s the fast food giant. They are separate legal entities although McDonald’s is the primary sponsor, without this support no houses could exist.

Rebekah put in her will that we should continue to support Ronald McDonald in her memory. Within a few days of her death Beck’s friends started OurRebekah to honour her wish.

We initially tried to be everything to everybody before concentrating our efforts on Ronald McDonald House attached to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. For three years at Christmas we ran Secret Santa. We have raised in excess of £4,000, the figure below does not include direct payments to the Birmingham House bank and cash gifts to Ronald McDonald Houses in Oxford, Bristol and Liverpool.

Rebekah was always known as Little Miss Sunshine, we have widened her smile to include a wide range of good causes, OurRebekah became The Sunshine Smile Crew. Sunshine Smile Crew member Stewart Bailey gave us our SIMILE CARD.

During December 2019 we gave out in excess of 150 cards including one to every family staying in Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham. The card is deliberately anonymous, no link to The Sunshine Smile Crew it is simply there to make people smile. We hand out cards through Dreamsai, The Food Bank and relatives rooms in University Hospital Milton Keynes.

As of December 2019 we have 59 members within The Sunshine Smile Crew’s Facebook Page, each and every one of them is charged with making someone smile every day. Rebekah left us on Friday 19th May 2017, this coming year will have completed 3 years of operation and begin Year Four. We have a very exciting agenda of projects touching the lives of many people, touching lives with smiles.

We have never, ever taken a penny from what we do to cover costs, that is funded from my pocket and I want things to remain that way.
Support, of course, does not always mean money but support must mean love. If there is no love within anything anyone does it is worthless. £1 with love is of greater value than £1,000,000 minus love.

I often say that the wave of love flows in two directions. The love given my making someone smile flows back to lift the donor

I want The Sunshine Smile Crew to adopt 2020 vision for the coming year and I want our King of Smiles card to be at the centre of every project. I want to suggest something for 2020 THE SUN NEVER SETS ON RONALD McDONALD.

Starting with Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham I have picked out a small group from the 365 Ronald McDonald Houses round the world. Together every day of the year these houses are lovingly caring for 341 families,

Birmingham England                   65 rooms
Alberta Canada                         27 rooms
Auckland New Zealand               13 rooms
New York USA                          95 rooms
Los Angeles USA                      75 rooms
Nashville USA       `                 36 rooms
Mumbai India                            19 rooms
Canberra Australia                    11 rooms
Johannesburg South Africa       27 rooms
TOTAL:                         368 rooms

I have picked out India not because of our strong friendship with Dreamsai but because I have regular listeners to my radio shows in India. That said I will be looking to Dreamsai for help and support. Advice is needed for language. I have a lot of listeners to my radio shows from Russia and there is a Ronald McDonald House in Moscow. However, language is would be a significant issue and there are political problems here which I would rather not get into. I always have listeners in Germany and there is a Ronald McDonald House in Munich but again or language issues I am not proposing we include this house, perhaps we could at a later stage.

To produce Smile Cards for general use I have four on a sheet of A4 paper which I simply print off, laminate then cut out. All very simple. For The Sun Never Sets On Ronald McDonald the idea is to print on card rather than paper, friends then take sheets and write a simple message of love on the back, love for the family which will receive the card.  It would be nice if children could draw pictures. Strictly NO religion and NO politics. Simple and full of love. These are then laminated, cut up and ready to send to families in our 8 houses.

To give a card to every family staying in every house – 368 each day, we are likely to been between 600 and 800 cards a month. Some families stay with Ronald for a short time while others stay for many weeks. With four cards on a sheet we need to find between 150 and 200 friends every month. This will not be difficult, our network includes:
·         The Sunshine Smile Crew
·         Deamsai
·         SMART Hub homeless shelter
·         West Bletchley Community Centre user groups
·         Thames Valley Police
·         Community Payback
·         Radio CRMK
·         Newport Pagnell FC
·         Sam Crook – Mayor of Milton Keynes
·         Paul Day – Mayor of Newport Pagnell
·         COBRA – Consortium of Bletchley Residents Associations
·         Windmill Hill Golf Club
·         Car homes served by Graham’s Musical Memories
·         Lord Grey School
·         Oakgrove School
·         Curly Tails
I would suggest that we start involving friends to sign cards w/b 13th January then send signed cards to reach families for Saint Valentine’s Day – Friday 14th February. We then send out cards to reach houses mid-month thereafter.
From Monday 17th February I will include a feature within my Monday radio show. All houses will be given the podcast. This can develop to include requests and dedications. The show runs:
·         UK - 6am to 8am
·         USA New York – 1am to 3am
·         USA Nashville – midnight to 2am
·         USA Los Angeles – 10pm to midnight
·         Canada Alberta – 1am to 3am
·         Australia  Canberra – 5pm to 7pm
·         Johannesburg South Africa – 8am to 10am
·         Auckland New Zealand – 5pm to 7pm
·         Mumbai India – 11.30am to 1.30pm
I would be prepared to ask for scheduling at the radio station to extend the show to either 6am – 9am or 5am – 9am.

We need to include within our website as it is rewritten for 2020 Vision a major area featuring each house with regular updates. We need to feature the groups and individuals signing the cards. This has to become a focal point for everyone involved in the project at all levels.

It would be lovely to send to each house a gift from The Sunshine Smile Crew every month. This does not have to be of high value but packed with love. For everything sent to houses, including the Smile Cards, there will be customs paperwork to complete.

I have included Piggie Alfie from Curly Tails in the list above. Curly Tails is more than an animal sanctuary, it radiates love to all kinds of people and groups. Piggie Alfie, our music sponsors Piggie Alfie, could send love all round the world to families in Ronald McDonald Houses.  I have an idea for a cartoon Adventures of Piggie Alfie. This could be a monthly drawing or a strip cartoon. While I am, myself, a writer the genre of Paddington Bear turning into Piggie Alfie is not my thing. However, if someone could take this on we could use the Max Robinson account with Amazon Publishing to turn it into both an e-book and a paperback. We then buy copies for the houses. I will discuss this with Alfie.

Funding for all our projects comes from my own pockets, we do not take a single penny from any good cause within our smiles. Right across 2020 Vision I am going to have to deepen my pockets.

As you know I am a writer publishing on Amazon. There are Amazon Millionaire Writers, as well as the royalties Amazon puts up a huge monthly prize fund for its top 100 authors. I have never bothered with money, writing is done for fun. However, modesty aside my books are every bit as good as those appearing in the top 100.  I did suggest we try to find someone to promote my writing and start making money, I suggested someone working right across my library shelf. However, I think this would work better if we had one marketeer per book and project. For Ronald McDonald I am suggesting we use a book I am currently writing, something I am turning out about 2,000 words a day.

This is a comedy, tongue in the cheek look at twenty-first society. Bathed in sarcasm I am having a lot of fun scribbling away. Each chapter is an independent sarcastic ramble. To date I have written:
·         Riding Along In My Automobile
·         1967 The Summer of Love
·         Damned Invention
·         Teenage Rampage
·         Where Were You
I am planning to write chapters:
·         I Hate Robots
·         Close Down The BBC
·         Aging Arrogance
·         Quotations From A Silly Old Man
·         Patriotic Pensioner
·         When Did You Last Hear A Cuckoo
·         When I Was A Student
·         My Family
That’s a total of 13 chapters. I will probably add in more to reach between 15 and 20. Of the chapters so far written each is 2,700 word long. 2,700 x 13 = 35,100 words. The average length of a novel is 65,000 words so this is a novelette.

Commission from Amazon is likely to be in the region of 20p per sale. The cover price is not known until a book is published.

·         Selling 10 copies = £2 royalties
·         Selling 100 copies = £20 royalties
·         Selling 1,000 copies = £200 royalties
·         Selling 10,000 copies = £2,000 royalties
To get into the Amazon top 100 sales would need to be 100,000 = £20,000 in royalties.

As crazy and far fetches as this sounds a proven system exists and we have the product to exploit it. Can we do it ?

I can’t do it, I have neither the skills nor the time. I am suggesting we find someone who could do this then split the royalties 50/50. Amazon deduct tax at source so w do not have to go into complex accounting. Half of the money fund the Smile Card and half goes into the pocket of our marketeer. Selling 10,000 copies would cover costs of Ronald McDonald buy Amazon would say be more ambitious.

I am thinking that a younger person who has grown up with the Internet and all associated could do this. If a guy in his twenties can make a fortune talking about chicken shops on YouTube then a marketeer could exploit all areas of on-line media to make money.  I work with teenagers in schools through Worktree and I know 16,17,18 year olds could do this. Making some good money surely would be motivation. I know, talking to these teenagers, that while they aspire to go to university the fear of student debt holds them back. Perhaps we could look for our marketeer and indeed marketeers for other projects within the undergraduate population.

So that’s part of my 2020 Vision for our Smile Card. I have another idea to get the card into hospitals for patients, families and visitors but that I will deal with separately. Can we make this Ronald McDonald project work ?  Can we bring smile of love to families with a child seriously ill in hospital ?

David aka The Silly Old Man
28th December 2019

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