How Full Beam Productions raised £4,000 for St Wilfrid's Hospice

  • By Natalie Bradshaw
  • 31 Aug, 2016

In August 2016, the original Full Beam Team set out on a 14 day charity tour, raising money for the local hospice.

tour charity fundraiser marathon
Our Beamer dancers at East Dean & Friston Village Hall
In 2007, whilst still living up north, in Warrington, and long before she met Jim, and created Full Beam Productions, Natalie went through the tragedy of losing her mum, Julie, to cancer. She had fought a long and hard battle, defying all of the odds, but in the end, there was nothing more to be done.

The one saving grace came in the form of St Rocco's Hospice - the local hospice, which became Julie's home for her final few months. The staff were friendly, the venue was warm and welcoming, the family could visit at any time they wanted - it was all Natalie, and her siblings, plus her dad, could have wished for.  

Ever since this day, the awareness of how important hospices are, in people's hour of need, has been ever present. Which is why, for 2016, Full Beam Productions teamed up with our local hospice, St Wilfrid's, right here in Eastbourne, to put on a spectacular show, that would leave audiences tapping their toes and singing along, and emptying their pockets of any amount that they can, to raise as much money as possible for such an amazing building.

As part of our preparation for creating the tour, we were shown around the building, with all of it's fabulous designs, for quiet, light, nature, peace and a sense of welcoming, and it solidified to both Natalie and Jim that this was how Full Beam Productions could now give back. By the end of 2016, our team wante to give as much back as possible to such a brilliant venue, which forms a key part of Eastbourne's community.
The Street - where the public can stop by for a coffee.
hospice touring show
The hospice looks amazing at night!

Together, we'll build a community where people talk openly about dying, live well until the end of their life, and where nobody dies alone, afraid or in pain.

It takes £11,000 per day to run the hospice, and they rely on contributions from the public in order to achieve their vision of a community where people talk openly about dying, live well until the end of their life, and where nobody dies alone, afraid or in pain. St Wilfrid's Hospice, just like other hospices across the UK, need fundraising events, donations, gifts and more in order to raise the money needed to provide the highest levels of care. They are involved with schools and companies, arrange their own events on a regular occurrence, and have a cafe and salon at the venue, plus shops in every town in which they serve, all to raise money.

But sometimes, this still isn't enough - and so running our own event, in order to help raise even more money, is Full Beam Productions' way of giving back to the charity, helping them to maintain their facilities, and providing the happiest of months for those who deserve it most, just like St Rocco's did for Julie in 2007.  

Our Beamer dancers were chosen in June, and had a hard rehearsal period, before heading out to six different care homes in East Sussex, to bring the show to those who couldn't get out to see us at the venues. 

Shauna and Nicole, plus our Swing Beamer, Charlotte, joined us for a fun day of shooting with Tim at The Little Chelsea Gallery in Eastbourne, to get some great promo shots, which we then sent along to Signtek, who made up some amazing banners for us to display around the areas we were visiting. We had such a laugh in the studio, and everyone looked great on the final photographs!
tour charity fundraiser photoshoot
Shauna, Nicole, Jim, Natalie & Charlotte worked with Tim to capture some great shots!
Nicole, Natalie & Shauna show off our second costume.
Our girls did brilliantly!
Our hand fans looked amazing too! Keep an eye out for the How-To video!
Unfortunately, Shauna found herself an injured leg with just 10 days to go before our first performance - meaning that she couldn't be a part of our tour any longer. Meaning that, in a very short space of time, we needed to find a new Beamer dancer, rehearse them into the shows, and introduce them to Nicole - who, by the way, was away on a charity trip for a month, returning on the Sunday before the shows began on Monday! Cue, Becki Baldwin:
charity tour dancer fundraising
Becki Baldwin - our brand new Beamer Dancer!
Becki is currently in her 3rd year at Trinity College Laban, studying Contemporary Dance. She was born and grew up in Eastbourne, and even did dance classes when she was younger in modern and tap, alongside Nicole! Her picking up skills certainly impressed us - she began rehearsals on Wednesday, and by Friday, she was show ready! On Sunday, we met up for the last time at Jevington Village Hall, to do a full run of everything in costume, and it all went extremely smoothly (phew!), and then it was home for a good night's sleep, in preparation for our first show: East Dean & Friston Village Hall.

Miss V & The Beamers Tour: Week One

charity fundraising tour singer
Miss Vintage at East Dean & Friston
 East Dean & Friston Village Hall

 What an amazing start to our tour! 75 audience members piled through the doors as soon as they opened, and we were ready and raring to go when the lights dimmed at 7.30pm! The hall was an wonderful venue, even with the mishap we had, where we discovered that we needed to build the stage when we arrived! Thank you to everybody that helped put it together in such a short space of time - without you, we would have been running extremely late! Jim opened the show was his rendition of a Queen favourite, before explaining exactly why we were there that evening, and then it was on with the show, starting with  No Business Like Show Business , and carrying on through until  We'll Meet Again  closed the show. The Beamer dancers were full of smiles, as the audience clapped and sang along with every single number, and there were massive cheers - especially after the  Locomotion  with our hand fanned showgirls! A brilliant first performance!

Rotherfield Village Hall

 A massive hall called for some more great photo opportunities on day two:
charity hospice tour
We were later told this flag was the wrong way round - but we love the photo either way!
charity hospice tour dancers
Nicole and Becky in their fab vintage skirts from LindyBop
charity hospice tour
Beamer dancers
Mayfield Village Hall

We visited Mayfield after the Rotherfield show, to deliver some last minute leaflets to every shop on the high street. It's a great little village - but a bit scary in the dark! The show was excellent though, with the audience dressed up in their best vintage costumes too! We all had a great time, and a fab photo at the end, to always remember our show here! By this show, nerves were subsiding, and making way for having a bit more fun. We were used to setting up already, and had it down to a very quick set up time! So it was great to be able to enjoy the night with Freya and her friends! Thanks for coming!
charity tour hospice
Mayfield audience with our Full Beam Team

When communities fail us, it's great to know that friends and family are there to support us.

Alciston & Selmeston

 There was one hall on our list which had been particularly difficult to book in to. The chairman of Alciston & Selmeston certainly put us through our paces, asking plenty of questions, and wanting to see a preview of the show, before finally agreeing that we could perform at their beautiful hall. A little out the way, the hall in Selmeston is truly lovely, with plenty of facilities, and what we were promised to be a very close knit community, who supported everything happening at the hall, and would  all  attend.

 Cut to the day of our fourth show. We had been previously offered help from the Flower Committee, who were later in hot water for doing so, and a bit of an argument unfortunately occurred between ourselves and the chairman of the hall, who told us that as part of the contract, we were not allowed to ask for help selling tickets. We were devastated - for the hospice, we believed that it didn't matter who helped to sell the tickets, so long as tickets were actually sold. Eventually, the discussion ended with us handing the tickets to them, who said that they could easily sell them for us - a positive outcome, or so we believed, but not to be true, when they told us on the day that nobody was interested. 

 But did we panic? No, we did not! A quick phone around of friends, and neighbours, and we had a small, but extremely appreciative group of 12 people - and the loudest, best audience we have had so far! We were joined by the chairman of the hall as well, who I believe was feeling guilty for his vendetta against something that was raising vital funds, and at the end of the show, we made sure to thank our friends and family. Perhaps the "Simon Cowell" who had "allowed" us to use his hall suddenly realised what he had done, because we received a full apology - especially after his words  "You were an unknown entity, that's why people weren't sure about coming"  was met with Natalie's reply of  "But the hospice isn't unknown at all - and it was all for them".  

It does not matter if you don't know if they are going to be good or bad. Buy a ticket, support the charity which you so often support, and have a lovely evening. Even if we were terrible (which we most certainly were not!), it would be a good laugh at least!
charity tour fundraiser dancer
Beamer Dancer Becki shows off her flexibility with a high kick in Locomotion
charity fundraising tour singer
Swinging Jazz Crooner: Jim Pyle
Herstmonceux Village Hall

Day five in our tour certainly did not disappoint. The weather was slightly grey, and we worried that would stop people from walking down to the hall to watch our performance, but we were delighted by the turn out. Rhys, who is in charge of the hall, let us in just after 6pm, and we were blown away straight away by the hall - a large stage, with a lovely floor; a clean and bright hall for our audience, and the best thing? A massive room behind the stage, for getting changed, warming up and getting prepared!
charity hospice tour
Natalie shows off the space
We sold tickets via onlineticketseller for our tour, so we knew to expect a fair few people for Herstmonceux. The local Women's Institute brought along a group of 8 people, and Rhys returned with his wife and grandchildren. We were even surprised by Beau and Abi turning up - two of Jim and Natalie's friends! Becki was on hand to sell programmes today and Nicole was on tickets - we've done the entire tour with all of us doing everything. It's hard work, but we are still really enjoying it! We can't believe it's nearly the end of week one!

We must mention here the donation of £56, which was needed to hire the hall. Rhys came to us at the end, and informed us that an anonymous source had kindly paid the remaining balance for us - which is amazing! Thank you to whoever you were! It is seriously appreciated.
charity fundraising tour dancers
Sk8er Boi was a big hit during the show.
charity tour fundraiser show
We gave you bass... And so much more during Meghan Trainor!
charity fundraising tour tap dancer
Our James Bond tap section was an explosion of fast footwork and feathers
Stone Cross Memorial Hall

Day six already! Stone Cross Memorial Hall was tricky to find, but once we were there, on a rather blustery Saturday, we found it to be a lovely hall, with a proper stage area, backstage and good sized hall. Chairs out, screen up, costumes on, and we were off - performing this time for a few friends of Jim's family, plus Becki's dad! I think he nearly burst with pride, and took her for a celebratory curry afterwards! Yum!

The age range of the audience was the widest today - and one of our younger members looked just like Miss Vintage in her pink skirt! It was fantastic!
charity hospice tour
The little girl looked just like Miss V!
The funniest moment of today was nothing to do with the show - but actually, all about the advert board, which we had put up at each venue, saying "Show Here!" etc. I've already mentioned how windy it was that day - and we came out of the show to - poof! - no signs on the board! Oh no! A quick search found them in a nearby bush, and we scurried home to glue them back on. It was very funny!

Lights out, all out!

charity hospice tour
Telling people the sad news...
 Horam Village Hall

 I think, if we were voting, Horam would have been the winner of Most Frustrating Hall. Natalie and Becki arrived firt today, and set about with pulling the stage out of the cupboard.

 After pulling out 150 folding chairs.

And 25 collapsible tables.

And 7 smaller tables.

And a bag of tshirts.

And the entire family of the spider in Charlotte's web.

And 50 inches of dust.

This staging hadn't been used in years...!

Which is fine - we knew this. We knew we needed to build the stage, and being the troopers we were, we set about it with gusto -  only for the power to cut out in the entire village, five minutes into the show! What a disaster! Unfortunately, there was going to be no electricity for the next three hours, or so, and we had to cancel the performance. We offered a refund to everybody, but they all wanted to roll their tickets on to the next show instead, which was a lovely idea!

 And then we had to put back the stage blocks, 50 inches of dust, family of spiders, 7 smaller tables, 25 larger tables and 150 folding chairs. Oh, and the bag of tshirts! What a stressful occasion! The Treasurer of the hall kindly brought us all a Magnum ice lolly, as a way of saying sorry (not that it was his fault), and Natalie, Becki and Jim decided a dinner at Harvester was in order, to destress! What a day!
charity hospice tour
With some of the lovely Horam audience

Miss V & The Beamers Tour: Week Two

charity hospice tour
Week two went without a hitch
Firle Village Hall

The second week of our tour began in Firle - a quiet little village, with not much going on, but a lovely pub, where we were treated to drinks at the end of the evening. A small stage, but lots of getting changed space, we used this hall to have a good run through of the show before the week commenced. Unfortunately, only two people booked tickets to see us on this day, so we didn't do a full show - although a very kind gentleman, who had also purchased a ticket but was struck ill on the day, visited us and donated £50 to the charity - so thank you to him! Those that had booked tickets planned to come again the next day - so we had a bit of fun, before packing away and heading home.

  Alfriston War Memorial Hall

 Certainly our most beautiful hall, we adored the enthusiasm of the people running Alfriston's venue. We had a large audience, with family, friends and other people too, who had seen our banners and chosen to come and watch, and we had a brilliant show! We were luck enough to have Matt Armstrong come and take photographs for us too - he runs his own company, Roar Into Africa Safaris - and his usual subjects are beautiful wild creatures, so we were very fortunate!

The show was a roaring success, with loud applause and lots of singing along! We also welcomed back a few of our audience members who had attended Horam, when we had the electrical disaster! So thank you to them for returning! We packed away that evening with a huge smile on our face, and heavy collection buckets too.
charity hospice tour
Some of Matt Armstrong's brilliant photos
charity hospice tour
Nicole, Natalie & Becki mid performance
charity hospice tour
So much fun to be had on tour!
 Clair Hall

Hitting Wednesday, we had to make a strong decision about our show which was going to taking place at Clair Hall, Haywards Heath. The hospice catchment area extends out to that far - and it is far! The hall is a stunning venue, with a great stage for us to perform at, and plenty of space for audience. However, upon advice from the people hiring the hall to us, and local knowledge, we decided to cancel the show at this venue.

 To get the money back on the hall, we would have needed a larger audience than the one which we were expecting, and we were very conscious about raising as much money as possible for St Wilfrid's Hospice, that together, the team decided it would be better to not have a performance that day. We took a much needed rest day, especially from a vocal point of view, and regrouped again for the next show.

  Bexhill Centre Stage Hire Venue

 What an amazing show! It was so full, that we ran out of programmes, had to madly make more juice in a hurry, and had to find extra chairs for everybody to sit on! The stage was quite small, and had a few suspicious holes in, so we chose to let the dancers take the limelight, and dance in front of the singers today - and it was brilliant!

 People had travelled from Hastings to see this show, as well as Eastbourne, and of course Bexhill itself - and it went down a storm! The funny side of it was the fact that there was no backstage - just a kitchen area, which was very small. We resorted to hanging the costumes on a rail in the yard outside - luckily it wasn't raining! It worked though, and we had a brilliant time!

 It was lovely to see some more of Jim's family and friends there today - including his grandparents, and a few childhood friends too!
charity hospice tour
We're gonna hang out the washing on... The line outside!
Polegate Community Centre

Our most overwhelming show of the entire tour - we sold out! Over 100 people came to watch our little touring show, and support the hospice, and it blew us away. Natalie was particularly emotional at the end!

"It was just amazing, to know that out there were so many people that supported us, and loved what we were doing, and also supported the hospice, which is why we put all that effort into the tour. The people at Polegate blew me away."

We were joined by family and friends from everywhere - the team from Eastbourne Rovers running group attended, the staff from a care home we provide for, Nicole's friends again, our "groupies" who watched five shows in total, and so many more. We filmed the show this evening, and it will hopefully be turned into a DVD as such, although it's all about finding time!

We didn't know how much money we had raised each night, until the end of the tour - but the buckets were significantly heavier after Polegate's show - so thank you to everybody that came!
charity hospice tour
Thank you, Polegate!
 Uckfield Civic Centre

 Another lovely, massive venue for us, this time in Uckfield. We only gathered a small audience for this tour, due to the roadworks going on outside - it wasn't easy to get to - but we did have a birthday celebration, and a claim to fame - the mother and sister of singer Rag 'n' Bone Man attended our show, in full vintage dress. They looked amazing, and loved the show - we were chatting to them both for about half an hour afterwards, and the mother was telling us all about her son, and how he was "doing quite well" with his music. Less than six months later, he's Christmas Number One! What an amazing journey he has had!

 We had our photo taken for the local website as well, whilst we were there, and it was featured that week - it's always a bonus to get our name out there, and shout a little bit more about what it is we are trying to do!
charity hospice tour
Posing outside Uckfield Civic Centre
 Newick Village Hall

 The final day! It has been a long week, but we made it to Newick - the final stop on our tour. The hall was great, with plenty of room for everybody. We had a few surprises up our sleeves, and we were ready to - literally - go out with a bang!

 Loads of people came - some even returned from previous venues, such as Mayfield, and we had a whale of a time for our last show. Voices were sore, and feet were aching, but we pushed through, and it was totally worth it when we released our party cannons at the end of the show - even if Mic, one of our stage crew, set his off too early!

 There was massive applause, which grew louder and louder as we took our final bows, and made our thank yous to the people that have helped us the most over the tour. Nicole and Becki were presented with flowers, and they were thoughtful enough to buy a gift for Jim and Natalie too, which was a lovely ending. We couldn't believe it was the end - we were so proud we had made it, and we wanted to do it all again! But it was certainly time for a rest - before pantomime season! What an amazing tour!
charity hospice tour
We had so much fun on our tour!
charity hospice tour
The Full Beam Dream Team 2016

Reasons to celebrate!!!

charity hospice tour
We didn't count the money until the final day of the tour. We wanted it to be a big announcement on the final show - minus the takings for that night, of course.

At the end of the performance at Newick, we announced that we had made £1,300 towards St Wilfrid's Hospice.

By the time we had counted the money from that evening, we hit an amazing £2,000.
charity hospice tour
Presenting the first £2,000 to St Wilfrid's Hospice
 The celebrations continued however, when we received a letter from a group in Eastbourne, who were doubling our total fundraised - meaning that the overall amount we presented to St Wilfrid's Hospice for our Miss V & The Beamers Tour 2016 was...


The final word:

 We cannot believe that we made it to the end of our tour. When we set out, fourteen days seemed like a marathon which was totally unachievable. It's amazing what hard work, dedicated people, and support from friends and family can achieve, and I am so proud to say that Full Beam Productions raised so much money for the hospice.

We would like to especially thank Nicole and Becki, who were the most perfect Beamer Dancers we could have wished for. Thank you for your hard work and determination throughout the shows.

Also thanks to our stage crew, who worked tirelessly for us every night, and our groupies who were on hand to fill bums on seats as and when needed. Your support was unfaltering, and we are so grateful.

Thank you to each and every person that came to watch, bought a programme, stayed to have a chat, or simply #putmoneyinthebucket - you have helped raise this £4,000 and without you all, it wouldn't exist.

Thank you!

Natalie & Jim
Miss V & The Beamers 2016

What's Happening

By Natalie Bradshaw 10 Oct, 2017
Eastbourne is playing host to a BRAND NEW singing competition!

We need audience members for Shine Bright Tonight, which is happening on 15th November at TJ's Nightclub, Eastbourne! With six artists from the local area battling it out in front of our panel of three judges, it's set to be an amazing night - with a cash prize up for grabs for the lucky winner!

For the audience, it's a night to remember, filled with excellent music from hand selected young performers. You never know, you could be watching a future star! You'll get to hear feedback from our judges, including industry professionals and representatives from BBC, and mingle with owners of some of the biggest businesses in town.

On arrival, there's a complimentary drink, and then to sweeten the deal, all money from the bar on the night goes to Children In Need - supporting an amazing cause!

This is not a night to be missed, but tickets are limited - so make sure you visit the website to purchase tickets now!

See you there!
By Natalie Bradshaw 25 Aug, 2017
Once again, we have compiled a newsletter , so you can see what we are up to!
By Natalie Bradshaw 08 Aug, 2017
With August well and truly underway, we've been taking our Summer Fiesta show to care homes in Sussex. With a few more to go, we look at some of the highlights so far.
By Natalie Bradshaw 16 Jul, 2017
Natalie Bradshaw takes the time to think about the residents who have been with us from the beginning, who are sadly no longer here.
By Natalie Bradshaw 08 Jun, 2017
When myself and Jim decided to approach care homes with activities and entertainment, it was new territory to us both. We had worked hard, for many years, as members of teams at resorts worldwide - working our way up from Animation to Team Leader, to Management - and so we had a good idea as to how to put together performances targeted at certain audience types, but care homes presented a whole new range of obstacles to overcome.

We have been providing activities now for nearly two years, and working closely with some of the biggest care home providers in the UK has certainly helped to shape our business, performers, and the shows we put together - and now, we are pushing forward with putting Full Beam Productions at the head of a new era of care home entertainment; one which comes away from war time classics, and sleepy songs, and instead creates excitement, smiles, laughter and fun for that short hour in which we are invited into the lives of those being cared for.

It's a very rewarding business to be in, but it's also one which needs to be done correctly for it to be effective. Today, I'm breaking down exactly how Full Beam Productions works, and how our approach puts a refreshing new spin on activities, and hopefully takes a step towards shaping the future of entertainment in a care home environment.
By Natalie Bradshaw 07 Jun, 2017
Hello, and welcome to our very first Wednesday Wardrobe!

Each week we will be bringing you a different blog post, or video, or both (!), taking you backstage and behind the scenes of our wardrobe department, as we prepare for each of our upcoming shows. Learn with our step by step videos how to create our props and costumes - or follow our tips for how to find the best bargains for specific dance numbers and performances.

We really hope that you find our new blogs interesting and informative - and if you think of anything that you would like to see us talking about, let us know by commenting below! Don't forget to let us know if you try to make your own version of our feature each week too!
By Natalie Bradshaw 28 Mar, 2017
In June 2016, Full Beam Productions owners, Natalie Bradshaw & Jim Pyle, were introduced to Nicole Allen - a girl with so much energy, and so much enthusiasm for life, despite suffering from the illness cystic fibrosis.

Nicole travelled around all of the care home performances, and 14 consecutive showings of Miss V & The Beamers throughout Summer, with the company, and the creative team were quick to cast her as the lead role in the James Penguin: Christmas Impossible  pantomime that December too - there was nobody better for the tap dancing, Agent P role!

As Jim & Natalie sat down at the end of 2016, to discuss which charity should be chosen for fundraising the next year, it seemed like there was no other option as good as this one - raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust was the first, and final decision.

"Nicole was inspirational throughout the tour - she had completed a month away from home before coming to the final rehearsal, and hitting the road for 14 consecutive shows. She could have told us that it was too much, that she was tired - but she persevered until the very end, and continues to do so even now. She's a true member of the Full Beam Team, and we want to help her - and supporting this charity does exactly that."
By Natalie Bradshaw 09 Mar, 2017
Jim Pyle discusses the history of swing music, plus how to choose between tribute artists, vocal groups, or a spectacle which is not to be missed.
By Natalie Bradshaw 27 Dec, 2016
2016 has been a whilrlwind year for Full Beam Productions. We sat down this weekend, whilst enjoying a few festive days off, and managed to flick through some of our old photos and videos, from the past year, and we are amazed by how far our little company has come in such a short space of time. So we thought we would make a video, to show you how great it has been, and to say thank you for being there, every step of the way!
By Natalie Bradshaw 14 Nov, 2016
Edited February 2017.
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