Tag Archives: Archers

London and the Awards

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So I headed down to London for the ceremony of the UK Blog Awards 2017.

From my previous blog post, I spoke how winning although it would be nice, wasn’t the overall objective, the main objective of this whole experience was to raise further awareness of the Kynren project, and try and deliver as much exposure that I could.

And I’d like to say I definitely delivered in regards to that.

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So onboard we went heading to London, with no expectations, just to enjoy the whole experience, getting caught up in a moment of reflection and acknowledging my own personal accomplishments.

 

The realisation that I’d taken a blank piece of paper with an idea of writing down my experiences and recording them to a UK individual finalist all inside 12 months.

Even thinking about it now, it still doesn’t ring quite true.

So London, our capital city, the hustle and bustle, the landmarks, the tourists, even the weather, lots going on as always.

The awards were being held in a central location, just past Westminster bridge overlooking both Big Ben and the London Eye.

Armed with suits and sparkling shoes I was here, ready to represent Kynren one final time.

 

 

The awards themselves as expected was a lavish affair, paparazzi waiting to snap as car doors opened, me just casually walking in under the radar.

I was here and I was determined to enjoy it.

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I made a point of arriving on time, I wanted to take as much of the experience in as possible, and although arriving on time, several people had already arrived before me.

This wasn’t just a big opportunity to showcase and promote the Kynren project but it was a good opportunity to meet the industry’s best all under one roof, meeting new people and gaining new and valuable connections.

 

Amongst the many finalists, guests and judges were a number of sponsors showcasing their wares for all to see and become involved in on the evening.

The one that stood out for my blog was this;

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Which resulted in a long conversation with Odeon Cinemas regarding Kynren, in which I couldn’t resist playing them the Kynren trailer from my phone and informing them that their is ‘Only one Arthur when Kynren is in town’.

 

With waiting staff aplenty the drinks were flowing, and quirky food samples based on a funfair theme too.

What’s not to like when you’re being offered beer, mini burgers, fish and chips, popcorn and pick and mix as just a small range of their offerings.

The awards were living up to its hype and more.

The room was a buzz of activity, hundreds of writers and bloggers coming together with hope and anticipation, that it could be them that picks up an award?

I met some truly talented and inspirational people in that room on that night, with potential collaborations to come in the future too.

So, to the main event, we got called into the main room to take our seats.

 

This was it, from just having a go, to here, this was it.

All the writing, all the support from readers and volunteers, all the promotional and media work I had organised and arranged, everything came down to this.

A National Award representing Kynren, representing Bishop Auckland, and most of all representing the Archers.

Win or lose, we do this together.

 

It was fantastic to see our project in the programme, it was fantastic just to be here.

My expectations weren’t high, I didn’t expect to win, I was the only event in an ‘Events and Weddings’ category, so the standard was high.

But it wasn’t about the winning, yeah it would be nice, of course it would, but I didn’t need my name to be called out for my own personal recognition to realise how far I’d come, how much I had already achieved, the original objectives I had well and truly smashed and delivered on.

This was the moment of truth.

The winner is…

 

Congratulations to Whisper and Blush

https://whisperandblush.com/

Totally deserved in my opinion, I had a look through my stiff competition within my category before attending the awards, and this particular blog stood out, well after mine of course.

I had the privilege of meeting the girls after they accepted their award, Melissa and Kate are so humble, yet so passionate about the articles they create, and are great ambassadors for the blogging community.

Whisper and Blush actually won this award last year too, but I’ve already told them that I aim to see them both again next year.

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The night was an unforgettable experience, one in which will long live in my memory.

Even thinking back on it now, the images above of a blank piece of paper, and a starting idea could of ever resulted in what I have achieved.

Thank you to the UK Blog Awards for creating this event, to recognise and acknowledge the talent of writers who do blog, on a wide range of different topics and subject matters.

Thank you for accepting me into your blogging community in which likeminded people come together each week on Twitter to discuss experiences and share advice on a wide range of stimulating questions within #BlogHour which you can’t not help to become more reassured, more confident and supported.

Thank you to the wide range of different writers, bloggers and Vloggers who each share in the same passions as you do, I hope to see you again at an event soon.

My next thank you goes to every single reader, and there has been many, from the UK to around the World, I hope you have found each article interesting and has reached out and encouraged you to come along to one of the performances.

For anyone who is just stumbling across these blog articles for the first time I hope you enjoy them.

But my final thank you has to be reserved for these guys.

https://corryandrew.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/the-volunteers/

The Archers, the volunteers, where would we be without each other.

We all came together for the same reasons, many of us strangers, to becoming friends, best friends, but more than that now we are all a family.

We look out for and after our own, supportive and caring, we encourage our successes, and commiserate on disappointments.

But ultimately I will always be proud to have stood beside each and every one of you.

Season 2, Saturday 1st July, enjoy it as only Archers know how.

Good Luck to all, and I’ll see you on the other side.

 

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What Makes Me Proud?

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When you talk about Kynren, and believe me as volunteers we talk about it a lot, it’s because we are so proud of the project and of our own personal achievements.

But what stands out for me is without any question, it’s the people.

After the first successful season and now gearing up for season 2, the only questions that should be asked is;

‘What is Kynren?’

‘And what does it mean to you?’

For me Kynren is many things, I mentioned this without going into detail yesterday.

Yes it’s a fantastic, tremendous, outstanding show, with many other words that can describe and express how it makes you feel.

And all that have witnessed it have done.

But for me, Kynren – An Epic Tale of England, only tells half the tale.

There’s no doubting it’s an utterly impressive live outdoor show that is unique to the UK, but bearing in mind each performance has been delivered by a 1000 volunteers, and added by a few hundred more in high anticipation of Season 2.

Each of these people have come together for many personal reasons and stories that I hope to share with you throughout this year.

But these are just regular people, who have come together to give back, to volunteer their time to help improve their town, or surrounding areas.

Some have hobbies or common interests in acting or dancing, some have wanted to take on a new challenge or had wanted to welcome all the visitors to the area.

The Archers all have lives, they work, they go to school, they are part of families, they each have responsibilities, or other interests outside of this amazing project, but you can’t help coming back for more and more.

Each of these people, are what makes me feel proud when someone asks about Kynren.

The show is incredible, but the people, I’m speechless when I talk about them, they make me so proud, and in turn they make me feel proud as I was one of them too.

You only have to look at the children and the teenagers to know how great this project is, to have been fortunate to watch each of them grow in confidence from their first rehearsals to the end of an award winning first season.

They make me proud, these are the next generation of volunteers and performers that will continue to drive Kynren on to new bounds.

It prompted a question that I asked myself several weeks ago.

‘What must it be like to be a teenager right now?’

Kynren is providing so many opportunities to learn, to discover new interests and passions that you may never knew existed in your being.

I know it has literally done that for me, writing makes me feel alive.

But if Kynren was here when I was a teenager? What would I be doing? What role would I take part in? Would I have the confidence at all to take part?

I’d like to think I would be, I know for certain just looking at the volunteers of all ages it would have brought me on leaps and bounds, just as it has done for many of the kids and young adults too.

For me, it has challenged me to become resourceful, to care more, to stand up and be counted when it really mattered, and never be afraid to show your passion.

If you dream it, you can do it.

To have something so special on your doorstep, that no one else in the UK has, that the trust of deliverance has been put in the hands of volunteers, rather than seasoned professionals, and the opportunity for the town of Bishop Auckland has been equally matched by Jonathan Ruffer and by Kynren, is another reason to make you feel proud and honoured to be a part of it.

It’s going to be a strange feeling not going to be there from now on, to not be a part of the action, a part of the camaraderie, to miss out on well… just not being there.

But Kynren is in safe hands, and that’s because Kynren is a community project, and no matter what, it always will be.

When you attend this Summer, yes enjoy the show, it will be like something you will never of seen before, and if you were here last year, that includes you too.

Enjoy the scenery, the rolling landscapes that Kynren sits besides, look at the amazing wild flowers on the walk into the site.

But don’t forget to look at the people, the volunteers, the Archers, because when you look and take notice, you’ll realise that they are Kynren, the real Kynren.

The heartbeat to the whole project.

To book your tickets for one of the 17 live, action packed shows please visit the Eleven Arches website here: http://www.elevenarches.org/

All Good Things Must Come To An End

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In all honesty I wasn’t going to write and post this today, I was in the process of writing another blog article called ‘What Makes Me Proud’ which I’ll now post tomorrow.

I think sentiment has got the better of me today, memories and flashbacks and to post this article today instead of tomorrow seemed more appropriate.

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One year ago today, this is where it all started, and friendships really started to form, this was the very first Experience team social meet-up, which were to become a common event throughout the build up towards the first show.

On this particular evening hardly anyone knew each other, the weather was torrential rain, and if I’m perfectly honest, I had doubts about attending even though I had organised it all.

The weather clearly put a lot of volunteers off going, if I wasn’t the organiser, I probably would have gave it a miss too, but if I had I would of missed out on a memorable evening shared with great company.

How is it possible? How can close friendships be formed so quickly, with Kynren everything is possible.

Leading onto the subject matter of this post.

‘All Good Things Must Come To An End’

On Tuesday of this week, with an extremely heavy heart I informed all of my teammates and all of my fellow volunteers, that I would unfortunately be leaving the Kynren project.

No doubt it will have been a shock or surprised some, especially as I’ve gone through the majority of the show team rehearsals this Season 2.

To walk away from this project so close to the start of season 2, and now not experiencing what it would have been like to take part in a debut performance, and the chance to witness one of those truly magical standing ovations.

A decision I haven’t taken lightly, I’ve been weighing this up for weeks, ever since the first weekend of training sessions.

There’s an unanswered question here, “But why?”

And an answer that I wasn’t sure if I should reveal or not, I don’t hide behind it, but I’ve never revealed it within these blog posts, and I was unsure if I should start now.

Kynren for all that it is, and it’s for many things. Things that you may have read in this blog, and others that I’m going to write about to showcase Kynren’s true personality.

And for all the good reasons, the self purpose, the feeling of worth, the achievements, the growth in confidence, the people who are truly everything, who are what Kynren truly is, I had to walk away and put myself first.

It’s been a very emotional week, with what I’m not ashamed to admit too, a lot of tears.

I have thrown myself into this project, for the good of Kynren, the good of our town, for the good of the people, but mainly for the good of myself.

And it pains me to walk away now, knowing the work I’ve done has contributed to the successes of the the show.

I have helped to give Kynren alongside 1000 volunteers, 1000 teammates, but more so 1000 friends, a foundation in which Kynren can grow, a benchmark that Kynren can target and push boundaries, and with that memories that I can look back and treasure forever.

For some, you will already know, for others you won’t, I was diagnosed with depression in November of last year, the last 5/6 months have been extremely tough at times from a personal point of view, and although Kynren has been a saviour at times, truthfully that’s what it comes down to for leaving.

It’s difficult, extremely difficult, and a decision that keeps playing back and forth in my mind, as to have I done the right thing?

It’s an answer I’ll never find without having the courage to walk away from something I’ve fallen in love with.

And it truly breaks my heart in the process too.

Nothing is forever, it may be a break, for however long it takes, to walk away from the project is hard, to walk away from the people, the volunteers, a second family has been so, so tough.

But I’m proud of them all, and they will go into season 2 creating new memories, building on the new history of Bishop Auckland through Kynren, and delighting sell out crowds in the process.

So what’s left to say?

On Friday I finally head down to London to find out if my Kynren Blog has beaten the odds and will be announced as a National winner, at the UK Blog Awards.

Something that I could never of envisioned when starting this blog, win or not, I will be forever thankful to Helen Watson for encouraging me to write this, as it is now a written record of many memories and emotions that can be re-lived in detail for myself and fellow volunteers to be remembered.

As for this blog, it will continue, granted I won’t be involved in detail as I was previously, but there is still so much that is left untold, so many more memories to share.

And so many stories from fellow volunteers to be heard.

Once the awards are over, I’ll be asking for contributions of guest blog posts from fellow Archers that I can share with my blogging community, with my worldwide reading audience.

It was my personal plan to write from the eyes of different teams so everyone could experience this wonderful project from a different perspective, unfortunately I am going to be unable to do that this season, so I hope to hand over to the current Archers and let them describe to you all;

‘What does Kynren mean to them?’

A final note today goes to the many thousands of people who have taken the time to read each article, I really do hope you found them interesting, engaging and have captured your hearts as much as this project has captured mine.

Kynren, thank you for the memories, until the next time.

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Easter Break

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First of all, Happy Easter holidays to you, another great time to wind down and spend some quality time with your families and your friends.

For Kynren and it’s volunteers it’s exactly that too.

After weeks of intensive training, the Kynren site has closed down for a much needed break for each volunteer, and even then we miss not being there.

Rehearsals start again from Saturday 22nd April when all the training, rehearsals and preparation is moved onto the stage.

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For any new volunteers who have signed up to take part during Season 2, they will have a mixture of true excitement alongside waves of nervousness in anticipation.

I know we did last year.

Looking back on this time last year, with a half completed building site, as Construction teams were working around the clock,  to complete works to ensure Kynren opened on time.

As contractors pulled off site, the volunteers would arrive to take part in their on site, on stage training.

These on stage sessions are brilliant days, intense for some, especially the show and technical teams, but these are the days that every team come together to work on aspects of their training in preparation for the live shows.

This year, the majority of volunteers know each other, there will be no awkwardness at times, as after all Kynren lives and breathes as a family unit thesedays, instilled by the passion of its volunteers.

Thinking back on last year, on most occasions the weather was kind, it certainly was on that first on stage rehearsal weekend, it felt as though you weren’t in Bishop Auckland at times, it was strange, you could clearly see the landmarks, but with the music playing and the warm weather and this unbelievable warm feeling running through your bones, you just knew you were in a special environment, one which creates smiles of happiness aplenty.

Come next week, the volunteers will be fully recharged, refreshed and raring to go, for some ready to rekindle the magic of the project of last year.

And some in preparation to witness it all for their very first time.

My advice to you all is take a breath, don’t panic, and take everything in, because these moments are just the start of your exciting Summer, where I know for one you will have the time of your lives.

Interested to know more about Kynren, why not like their Facebook page where you can watch official promotional videos such as this: 

https://www.facebook.com/Elevenarches/videos/122794943938702/

 

 

On-Site Training in Full Swing

This week saw the Kynren site a hive of activity as all of the show teams returned back for training, in what will only be described as another highly anticipated Summer and Season 2 of Kynren – ‘An Epic Tale of England’.

Despite the male teams starting their training a couple of weeks prior, it’s been great to be amongst many of the volunteers this week, to relive the buzz and the excitement that we all remember from season 1.

And many flashback moments have been shared this week, as each week from herein symbolises key moments in the lives of each volunteer.

For me, this time last year, I attended the Experience Team’s World Host Ceremony night held at Bishop Auckland College, celebrated amongst the full army of soon to be kitted up red jacket volunteers who make each visitor welcome when you attend the shows.

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To this week, one year on.

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More combat training, more choreography, more techniques.

From reading my last blog, I can hold my hand up and say I struggled, it’s not as easy as we witness from the shows. It’s a real credit to both the professional trainers and the volunteers themselves how they learn and adapt to new skills.

Thankfully, I feel more relaxed and calmer after this week, as the saying goes “practice pays off” and having taken part in some refresher training sessions I certainly feel I lot more comfortable and confident in what lies ahead.

Each training session is coming along thick and fast and the Kynren factor has already captured everyone’s hearts, no one wants to miss anything.

The project is special, the people even more so.

As you know, one of the main reasons why I moved teams from the Experience to the Show was to keep developing my blog.

I wanted the opportunity to write and record the emotions from the eyes of another side of the project.

It’s what I’d like to do each year if possible.

Every volunteer plays a part in this project, and each of us witnesses something completely different, which for me, makes this project, so, so special.

For many, combat training is special and it is, sword fighting, what’s not to like right?

But it isn’t everything, this project offers so much more, when you’ve had the opportunity to witness it from another set of eyes.

For me, my role last year wasn’t seen as glamorous, being part of a car park team throughout the majority of the show nights, but it needed doing and I’m proud of myself for standing up to do it.

Being in that role taught me so many things about myself and what my strengths and capabilities are.

But a highlight that will stay with me forever was the many families, often in some cases 2, 3 or even 4 generations of their family, arriving in Car Park ‘C’ with their picnic blankets, food and drinks.

Setting up outside their cars, sitting on the grass, catching up with each other, sharing stories and watching the sheer excitement of why they were all there, to witness our show that is Kynren.

I’ve mentioned many times that Kynren means different things to different people, but from that unglamorous role in the car parks I got to witness families meeting up, some who hadn’t seen each other since Christmas, many even longer.

I got to see their smiles, and witness the excitement, in many cases from the parents, equally, if not more than their children.

And I got their final wave of goodbyes and thank you’s when they left, with a final note of ‘we will be back’.

From moving over into the show, this week I wanted to soak up all the excitement and the buzz from the show team volunteers, not only in my training sessions, but stay around for the registration process for other sessions too.

And what’s left to say?

It’s great to be back…

Kynren returns for Season 2 on Saturday 1st July, running for 17 shows.

From the training I have received and speaking to various volunteers, this season is going up a notch and it really isn’t something you should miss.

For more information or to book your tickets, please visit Eleven Arches website http://www.elevenarches.org/

Camp Kynren

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And so it starts all over again.

On Monday 13th February I attended the first volunteer group training session aptly named ‘Camp Kynren’ which will be run across the next couple of weeks in which all 1500 volunteers will attend.

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At this stage I’m not about to go into any real details and spoil it for the remaining volunteers who have yet to go, but what I will say it’s very informative and lots of fun.

I’ve mentioned many times before how special and how warm a feeling you have when you arrive back to the Kynren site, it just has this magic about itself that you can’t help but feel excited and smile both inwardly and outwardly.

Add that feeling with coming together with a large group of volunteers, some of which you know, some that incredibly you’re only meeting for the first time, and then making introductions with the brand new Archers that are keen and excited to join you on this incredible journey into Kynren, Season 2.

Season 2 has been a long time coming for many an Archer, most haven’t been back to the site since the tree planting day at the end last year, whilst some may not have even had an opportunity since the final show back in September.

It was a rollacoaster of a ride of a Summer, I definitely have the bug, and one I was keen to continue on.

This year as I mentioned in previous blogs I have moved from the Experience Team which has given me so much grounding and a great overall view of the Kynren project, where I worked alongside so many fantastic people and also had the amazing opportunity to meet, greet and speak to so many visitors to our shows.

It has been an amazing experience just to learn how Kynren has been received both from pre and post shows, it will long live as a special moment, one that I will relive through these blogs as a lasting memory.

So Good Luck to all the Experience Team heading into Season 2, each of you are a credit to each other and the project.

I will be very jealous of not being able to wear the famous red jacket but each time I see it will spark hundreds of memories, smiles and laughter in the process.

So, to the show team…

After Monday night I did have to question my sanity, after a brief exercise of co-ordination skills and movement I finally understood what all of my friends had been telling me for years.

I don’t have any 😄

Much work ahead for me, but one I’m looking forward too.

The performing, the standing ovations, they will be outstanding in their own right but it’s not everything that I’m looking forward too.

I’m looking forward to challenging myself, taking myself out of a slight personal comfort zone, adapting myself, learning new skills, and learning from the best, our choreographers and our first season Archers.

And one thing for certain is I’ll work myself hard, not just because that’s my way, because I now have a moral responsibility not just to myself but to all my fellow teammates right across the full project and to the paying visitors that come far and wide across every corner of the globe.

Throughout my blogs, the common denominator is the people, I’m proud of them all.

Without any of them we wouldn’t be where we are today, look back on what we all achieved, look onwards another 12 months and dare to dream, but in our cases live out the reality.

Kynren Season 2, is going to be Epic, we’d love you to be a part of it, there are 17 shows this year starting on Saturday 1st July running until Saturday 16th September.

For further information or to book your tickets please head over the Eleven Arches website here: http://www.elevenarches.org

 

 

 

Mix and Match Season 2

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Well the final sessions of the Mix and Match new volunteer days come to a close on Saturday and I’m sure it’s brought back a lot of memories for the current Archers whilst providing some enjoyment for the new Archers.

And I now know as I finally got the opportunity to come along and witness it all for myself.

For anyone who has gone through this process they’ll all tell you it is lots of fun and a good icebreaker to their first introductions to Kynren.

Although that’s all you are going to get from me, I’m not going to give anything away, but if you’re attending tomorrow I will look forward to meeting you all.

If you’re reading this today and you are still unsure, click on the link at the bottom of this page and come along to one of the sessions tomorrow, see what it’s all about for yourself, speak to the volunteers in different teams who have been in your shoes who have gone on to become actors or dancers, meet and greet to technicians and a whole lot more.

I’ll guarantee you will have fun, you’ll be full of smiles and laughter, you’ll meet lots of likeminded people who will become new friends and you can join us in having a fantastic 2017 full of fun times of rehearsals and shows, and that’s just inside of the Kynren project.

Outside of it it’s united a community, there are many different opportunities to meet up to get to know each other and continue to build new bonds and friendships, from coffee mornings, to meals or drinks out, to walks around Auckland Castle too.

Becoming an Archer; by volunteering will be one of your life achievements, we say it because it’s true, it does change your life, it improves it, it makes you value and appreciate everything that you have in it, whilst giving something back and having the time of your lives in the process too.

During Season 1, you could find me wearing the famous red jackets of the Experience team.

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For me it was great to see the shows from the viewpoint we did, I might have missed out on the standing ovations that the show team faced and how truly awesome were they all.

But in each different team you choose, you work in and witness a completely different perspective of the Kynren shows that only that team gets to see.

Every team have bonded well and are looking forward to welcoming every new volunteer, our new team mates, our new friends.

I got to interact with thousands of visitors each night, and I’ve often said it’s great to read a good review but it’s amazing to be told in person.

Through the Experience team you get that face to face action.

Throughout my blogs I’ve recorded my journey, and it’s something I would definitely recommend to anyone else too, that’s for both new or current volunteers, a record of personal moments to look back on and reflect some outstanding achievements.

For me next year, I’ve decided to hand my fate over to Eleven Arches and let them choose for me where they think I’m best suited, I trust them that whichever team they choose it will be the right one and I know that whichever team that it ends up to be, I will, as you will be made to feel very welcome.

If you are interested in attending one of tomorrow’s sessions please click on this link or please share it with anyone in your family or friends circles that may be interested.

http://www.elevenarches.org/get-involved

With your help Kynren will grow and become bigger, better and stronger.

To buy tickets for the performances from July 2017 please click here:

http://www.elevenarches.org/