Early Sunday morning was more eerie than the zombie apocalypse of Friday night for me as I walked quickly down a deserted Allerton Road towards the 156 RLC Regiment head quarters. Comforted only by the Costa hot chocolate warming my hands, I wondered what I’d let myself in for when I agreed to report on a community fun day in partnership with the Mather Avenue Tesco superstore……which had completely vanished in the dense fog.
For those who don’t know the area, Allerton is a beautiful suburb of Liverpool that is surrounded by lush green parks and boasts a thriving high street with national chain stores and independent businesses alike. There is a proud community feel to the area, with a busy library, well maintained green spaces and flower boxes dotted around the busy coffee shops. The small cluster of wine bars and pubs create enough bustle for a decent night out without causing havoc to the quiet residential areas. In short, Allerton rocks!
Luckily I made it, unscathed to Tesco car park and was greeted warmly by the 156 Reserves field kitchen who were cooking up a breakfast storm following an in-store trolley dash that Dale Winton would’ve been proud of!
Bacon butty in hand I met Tesco Community Engagement Officer and Wonder Woman Sam Campbell who, alongside 156 Regiment had come up with the idea of running an event to reach out to the wider community, shoppers and also other business owners to say thank you for their on-going custom and support. 156 Regiment have a 100 year history in the north west and are fiercely proud of their local connections. Many of the current reserves live and work in the area and enjoyed the opportunity to chat to the public about their roles supporting the regular Army.
Kids at the event had a ball, donkey rides (I took about 50 photo’s of the adorable Paddy and Guinness …..I’d really like a donkey for Christmas now…hint hint) plus paint-balling, bouncy castles, penalty shoot out and larking about in military vehicles all washed down with slushies, candy floss and cake! That’s how to end the half-term holidays.
No community event would be complete without a visit from a high-profile guest. Liverpool Lord Mayor Tony Concepcion and his wife and Mayoress, Ann arrived to show their support for building strong community links that benefit the city as a whole and happily had a go at paintball before judging the bake-off competition.
I managed to wolf down just the one plate of award winning Army field kitchen chicken curry and rice (but only because I was supposed to be working) to ward off the cold, before saying goodbye to the donkeys and heading home to write up my notes and add all the pics to the gallery, here.
There’s something undeniably heart-warming about spending time with people who genuinely care about and make an effort for others. It’s contagious….and the Allerton community are dedicated to keeping that spirit alive.