Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Two days as "X"

Zaf C is BFTF's brother and also one of the 25 driver teams taking ambulances to Pakistan in Muslim Hands "The Big Drive" project.

The Project team have a "demo ambulance" that drivers can borrow for their fundraising efforts, and Zaf had booked it for this weekend with the aim of using it as the focus of a fundraising effort in Bury Park, Luton (see also Zaf's JustGiving "AnAmbulance" page).

But this was fundraising with a difference.

BFTF as "X", in front of the demo ambulance

(Note : All images of BFTF as "X" have been blanked out following receipt of an email from ""The Copyrights Group" who said they represented the Paddington Bear Company, see end of post for further details)

Whereas many groups fundraise by waving buckets at people and essentially saying "if you had a heart you would give us your money", the AnAmbulance team took the approach of trying to give something back to the public in the form of a little entertainment from a-well-known-childrens-character-henceforth-known-as-"X" and a Winnie the Pooh-esque character , as well as free coconut macaroons, cakes and pakoras.

Making some small people happy

For much of the time, the person inside "X" was BFTF, with No3 son inside the Winnie the Pooh-esque costume.

And we were GOOD.

Whereas other volunteers loooked like people inside a costume, BFTF and No3 son looked alive - and had some bad ass kung-fu moves!

"We love bus drivers, we love bus drivers!"

And BFTF took it upon himself to wave at as many passing vehicles as possible, with an overwhelmingly positive reaction.

Buses were greeted by BFTF and No3 son with the loud call of "We love Bus drivers! We love Bus drivers!" while men in very sporty cars received the words "Looking good my friend, looking good!"

A passing motorist gets the thumbs up

What struck BFTF in particular was the fact that "X" and Winnie were a great hit with the non-Muslim community. It really warmed BFTF's heart to be able to raise a smile from children and parents of all cultures as they passed by in their cars.

And BFTF wonders how often the Muslim community tries to give some enjoyment and fun to the wider society.

No3 Son photobombs a picture

Indeed, and in all seriousness, perhaps an effective way for the Muslim community to engage positively with wider society would be for some enthusiastic volunteers to dress up in animal costumes and make passers by smile of a weekend.

So long as they had some good moves of course, and could do kung-fu.

No3 Son taking a nap after a day of waving and kung-fu

Dialogue with "The Copyrights Group"

Original email from "The Copyrights Group":

"I am writing to you regarding a recent internet blog which I believe was initiated by you regarding some fund raising activities on behalf of BFTF. The fund raising activities involved a Paddington Bear costume which was being used in public.

If I may introduce myself my company, The Copyrights Group Limited, acts as the worldwide licensing agent for Paddington Bear. We represent Paddington and Company Limited which owns all the intellectual property rights including all copyrights relating to Paddington Bear. Paddington and Company was set up by Michael Bond Paddington's creator many years ago to protect Paddington Bear and is now run by his daughter. Your blog has been brought to my attention as we have not issued any permission or licence for this use of Paddington Bear which is necessary and I am therefore writing to you about this.

As you can no doubt appreciate Paddington Bear is a popular British character and as a result we get many requests from members of the public and organisations for the use of Paddington to raise money for worthy and charitable causes. Over 20 years ago Michael Bond decided that rather than have the charitable use of Paddington randomly managed it would be better to concentrate his charitable use to the benefit of a single cause. Consequently an agreement was entered into with Action Medical Research, which is a leading children's charity funding medical research which particularly affects children. This charity has the exclusive use of Paddington Bear to help raise money for their work and as a result when we find Paddington Bear being used by other charitable causes we have to write and ask that they cease their use of Paddington for this reason.

I am unclear from the blog whether you are the head of the BFTF charity or officially associated with it. If you are merely a supporter of the charity then if you can direct me to whoever heads BFTF I will write to them to raise this matter with them and need trouble you no further.

Apart from the conflict with our authorised charity we are also concerned about the use of a Paddington Bear costume which we had not previously seen for creative approval. If the costume was home made then that would explain its appearance but if it had been hired from somewhere then we need to track this down so as to prevent its further use as unfortunately it does not meet the standard of appearance that we require. Additionally, as I am sure you will understand upon reflection, with a children's character it is important that any costume appearance is appropriately managed so that the cosume only acts in character and does not do anything inappropriate. Safeguarding children is a serious consideration for us. I would be grateful therefore if you could advise the origin of the costume that was used.

I am sorry to write regarding this matter but I trust you will understand our position and that we have to look after the interests both of our authorised charity as well as Paddington Bear himself. Provided that we are able to prevent any recurrence of the use of Paddington by BFTF in this way or further use of the costume then we will be happy to let the matter rest there."
BFTF replied as follows:
I have amended the blog-post to remove all reference to Paddington Bear and hope you can confirm by return that the post is now acceptable to you ( I have no easy way of determining the provenance of the costume in question but can advise that, as a precautionary measure, I will not take part in any events featuring Paddington Bear in future. Again, could you please confirm by return that the blog-post is now acceptable to you.
And received a final response as follows :
"Thank you for your prompt response to my e-mail. In light of the action you have taken to resolve this matter my client is happy to let matters rest there."